Domestic abuse victims in Netherlands can also use code word to get help
From this month, victims of domestic violence can use the code word "mask 19", or "masker 19" in Dutch, to ask for help at pharmacies. The pharmacist will say the mask is out of stock, but to leave a number and address so that the mask can be delivered. Instead, the pharmacy will alert the authorities or aid agencies that someone at that address needs help, NRC reports.
Organizations like Veilig Thuis previously expressed concerns that victims will find it more difficult to report violence because their partners are now constantly at home with them. There are also concerns that increased stress and tensions caused by the coronavirus crisis may lead to shorter tempers and more violence.
France and Spain both implemented the same code word for domestic violence victims. Both countries saw the number of reports increase by a third and a half respectively, the newspaper wrote.
The Ministry of Public Health will announce further details regarding this initiative in the near future, according to NRC. Last week, the government launched a campaign to encourage victims to contact the authorities under the motto 'It doesn't stop until you do something'.
Starting next year, the government will also push an additional 59.1 million euros into programs aimed at tackling domestic violence and child abuse, the Cabinet said. Over 38.5 million is intended for Veilig Thuis (“Safe at Home” in English), a 24/7 call center which takes reported cases of domestic violence and child abuse from victims, bystanders, professionals and even offenders.
Another 15.5 million euros will be available to establish more physical locations to shelter women who are escaping from an abusive situation.