Women's shelters in NL leave a lot to be desired: Ombudsman

Women's shelters in the Netherlands can still do with a lot of improvement, according to National Ombudsman Reinier van Zutphen. Especially women who want to move on from a shelter to a rental property encounter problems, he said in a new report, NU.nl reports.

"The cooperation between municipalities is still not going well. They often have different rules for giving priority on a rental home, whereby women are getting the runaround", the Ombudsman said. Women who move from a shelter to another municipality also again have to apply for benefits and debt assistance. "As a result, women who leave a shelter fall through the cracks."

Almost two years ago the Ombudsman published a report stating that the regulations and procedures around women shelters cause problems for the women being helped by them. According to Van Zutphen, things are improving. "But there are still not enough shelters, and debt counseling is often not yet officered. That really needs to change."

Every year around 12 thousand women, usually with children, are forced to use a shelter. They are often abused, have psychological problems, or are deeply in debt.