Judges convicted vast majority of sexual offense suspects in 2021
Eight out of 10 sexual offense cases brought to court last year ended in convictions, according to a Nu.nl analysis of figures from WODC (The Scientific Research and Documentation Center). However, the number of sexual offenses that make it to court is still disproportionately small.
Out of all the suspects in sexual offense cases –– for example rape, sexual assault, sexual relations with minors, incest and "other sex crimes" –– 80 percent were convicted. The numbers come from the first 11 months of 2021, as December’s results have not yet been published. Judges dealt with around 1,000 such cases during these months.
Suspects were acquitted 18 percent of the time. Another 2 percent of the time there was a third outcome, such as a suspension, according to Nu.nl. Crimes related to child pornography or indecent defamation were excluded from the data.
Although the vast majority of suspects were convicted, Statistics Netherlands (CBS) calculates that a far greater number of sexual assaults, rapes and other abuses go unreported and unpunished every year. Around 100,000 people are victims of these offenses yearly, according to the institution.
Experts told Nu.nl this could be because victims need time to process events or because they “can’t get the words out.” Only around 10 percent of sexual assault victims report the crime to authorities.
"For most victims, reporting is not the biggest priority,” Iva Bicanic, director of the Sexual Violence Center, told Nu.nl. “Many people know the perpetrator and do not necessarily want that person to be punished. Most of all, they want the abuse to stop and their lives back."