More victims of sex crimes choosing restorative mediation
Victims of sex crimes have the option to choose restorative mediation with the suspect. Last year, the number of people who chose this option nearly doubled, from 120 to 231, according to de Volkskrant. This year, demand is also increasing.
This is partly because police are educating victims more about the option as part of a larger effort to decrease the backlog of sexual crime cases. Because not every victim wants the perpetrator to go to prison, police are trying to be more attuned to other ways they can help, said Lidewijde van Lier, vice specialist at the National Police.
"We teach teams to look at things differently and to better ask victims: what do you actually need?" Van Lier explained to de Volkskrant. This is where restorative mediation comes in: a guided conversation between victim and perpetrator that can reduce victims' feelings of fear and anger. It can also reduce the risk of people re-offending.
However, this is only a good solution if the victim and suspect agree to it –– not as a last resort to reduce the backlog of cases, said Ruth Jager, a lawyer who specializes in sex crimes.
Nathalie de la Cousine of the Perspectief Restorative Mediation Foundation said that victims can still file a report alongside the option of restorative mediation. "You can do both. We are not concerned with finding the truth in the conversations," she said.
People who choose the option are cautioned that they may not get an apology. However, "it can also lead to agreements about how you treat each other when you meet," said De la Cousine.