More sexual violence victims seeking help shortly after crime

Victims of rape or sexual assault in the Netherlands are increasingly willing to seek aid shortly after they were attacked. Last year the center for helping victims of sexual violence CSG received almost 50 percent more acute reports - reports made within seven days of the assault or rape - than the year before, NOS reports.

The CSG consists of police, doctors, nurses and psychologists. If a victim reports to the center, they are offered all the aid they need in one go. This ensures that the victim does not have to tell their story again and again, and only has to undress once for investigation. Victims who report to the police within a week after the sexual assault or rape, are immediately referred to this center. 

Last year a total of 3,250 victims reported to the CSG, compared to 2,624 in 2017. Half of these cases involved acute reports. About a third of the victims were minors.

Iva Bicanic, national coordinator of the CSG, is pleased that more victims find their way to the center, but she suspects that this is still just the tip of the iceberg. "We are moving in the direction that people know they should go to the center for sexual violence just after it happened, just as you know that you have to go to the burns center after a serious burn", she said to NOS. This can be attributed to more attention being paid to sexual violence, partly because of the #MeToo movement, she said. "The subject can no longer be ignored in the media. This makes people more realistic about sexual abuse and their own vulnerability."

Coming to the CSG within seven days after being attacked is extremely important. Until a week after a rape or sexual assault, the police can still find trace evidence on the victim's body, such as hair and sperm. This increases the chance of finding the culprit. Seven days is also an important time frame to receive medication against STDs and pregnancy.