Sexually abused kids too often end up in locked institutions, national rapporteur says

Children who were sexually abused too often end up in the locked sections of youth care institutions, according to National Rapporteur on Human Trafficking and Sexual Violence Against Children Herman Bolhaar in a new report. Over one in 10 girls who are receiving help after sexual abuse, are in a locked institution, he said, NOS reports.

Locked youth care, so-called Youth Care Plus, is the heaviest form of assistance, meant for children and young people for whom lighter measures do not work. These young people are then placed in an institution which they cannot leave. The majority of the girls in these locked departments were victims of sexual abuse, according to Bolhaar.

"I find it very distressing that for a extraordinarily large number of children the problems after sexual violence increase so much that their freedom is limited by being admitted to a locked institution", Bolhaar said. In 2016 there were 700 children and young people in closed institutions after sexual abuse. 

Bolhaar calls it striking that mainly girls are placed in locked institutions, while boys often get a lighter form of help. The National Rapporteur wanted to map out what aid young victims receive, but found this largely impossible because organizations do not have to register exactly why a child is receiving treatment or assistance. Doing so is important, according to Bolhaar. "If we do not know what help abused children receive, we also can't know whether we offer them the right help."

Earlier this month it was revealed that the number of children in locked youth care institutions in the Netherlands increased by 8 percent to a record number of 2,710 last year.