Half of Dutch girls, 1 in 5 Dutch boys victims of sexual violence

The Netherlands Rapporteur on Human Trafficking and Sexual Violence against Children reported Thursday that half of Dutch females and one fifth of Dutch males are victims of criminal sexual violence at some point during childhood.

National Rapporteur Herman Bolhaar writes in a report that the government should do more to combat sexual violence in children – especially at the regional level – saying the government maintains “different programs and initiatives that call for specific forms of sexual violence against children, but [they] lack coherence and coordination for the entire approach.”

To exemplify the fragmented status of current legislation, Bolhaar says, “sexual violence committed by peers and online sexual violence fall outside of child abuse, and therefore largely outside the policy plans for it.” Additionally, the government does not always recognize sexual violence occurring between children. The National Rapporteur cites troubling patterns in his bi-annually published victim monitor – such as the 15% of Dutch children who failed to receive youth assistance within 6 months of being declared at risk by a juvenile court judge.

Bolhaar says even professionals can find it extremely difficult to identify cases of sexual violence in children, “and children themselves do not talk about it easily.” He adds, “Moreover, it often has far-reaching consequences for children. That is why I am calling for a conversation about sexual cross-border behavior: at home, at school, among young people. Everyone must feel safe to talk about it.”

National Rapporteur Bolhaar tweeted Thursday, “I have offered the report to the minister
Hugo de Jonge. He will be coming soon with ministers Sander Dekker and Ferd Grapperhaus (to whom recommendations are also addressed) with a response. The urgency is high: sexual violence often has long-term disruptive effects on children.”


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