Netherlands experimenting with free care for victims of sexual violence

Victims of sexual violence in the Netherlands no longer have to pay healthcare deductibles when they incur medical costs. With this one year long experiment, the Dutch government wants to find out whether free care will lower the threshold for seeking help, NOS reports.

Victims can go to a Center for Sexual Violence to get help. These are usually connected to hospitals' emergency room. The Centers perform trace evidence investigation, but they also offer psychological help and tests for venereal diseases. 

The trace evidence investigation to catch the perpetrator is free of charge, but other medical expenses incurred fall under healthcare deductibles. The CDA, D66 and PvdA wanted to know from the government whether this does not create an unnecessary barrier for sex crime victims to seek the help they need. Ministers Bruno Bruins for Medical Care and Sander Dekker for Legal Protection replied that there are no concrete information about this. But they do want to improve access to care for this vulnerable group.

They therefore launched this temporary experiment, in which victims who seek help from a Center for Sexual Violence in the acute phase will receive compensation for the costs incurred in their healthcare deductibles. The experiment will last for one year. 

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