Over 700,000 Dutch domestic violence victims in 5 years: report

Over 700 thousand Dutch adults faced domestic violence at least once over the past five years. And more than 100 thousand children in the Netherlands are abused each year, according to an extensive and long term study by scientific research and documentation center WODC, the Volkskrant reports.

Due to inadequate data from the past, no conclusions can be drawn about whether domestic violence increased or decreased in the Netherlands. "Due to methodological differences, the results from 2010 are not comparable with those of today", researcher Annemarie ten Boom said to the newspaper. "I dare to say that the number of victims haven't increased. There are indications that a decrease may have started, but I can not say more than that."

The WODC, part of the Ministry of Justice and Security, started this study in 2015. It does not include mental violence, according to the newspaper. With the help of Statistics Netherlands, the researchers asked 19 thousand random Netherlands residents to fill out a questionnaire on issues like hitting, kicking, sexual violence and threats by family members or family friends. The researchers also looked at a number of police reports on domestic violence.

The researchers found that 5.5 of Dutch adults were victims of physical or sexual domestic violence at least once. For 20 percent of the victims, the violence is structural. A third of the victims faced domestic violence only once. Women are five times more likely to face structural violence from their partner or ex than men - 76 thousand women compared to 13 thousand men. 

Ten Boom emphasized that this research method is not perfect. Some victims may not dare to tell the truth on the questionnaire, she said.

For the research into child abuse, the researchers questioned 800 professionals from schools and youth care and processed data from domestic abuse center Veilig Thuis. They also surveyed a number of high school pupils. The researchers found that serious emotional neglect is the most common form of child abuse in the Netherlands. Pupils in VMBO are more often victims than those in HAVO-VWO. Up to the age of 12, boys and girls are equally likely to be abused. In the age group 12 to 17 years, girls are ore likely to experience domestic violence. 



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