Victim support: often sought in cases of violence

In 2003, Slachtofferhulp Nederland the organisation of victim support groups in the Netherlands, gave assistance to nearly 85 thousand victims and persons directly affected by a criminal offence or traffic accident.

Just over 85 percent of the assistance was given to victims. Witnesses, other persons affected by incidents and bereaved people accounted for 12 percent, and perpetrators for 2 percent.

Victim support by category of crime

Victim support by category of crime

Nearly 38 percent of people who received victim support were victims of a violent offence, one quarter were victims of traffic accidents, one quarter of theft, burglary or some other form of property crime.

Victim support by category of crime and sex

Victim support by category of crime and sex

Young men: often victims of violent crime

Relatively many men (38 percent) seeking support from the groups do so after having been the victim of a violent crime. They also often (29 percent) receive assistance after road traffic accidents.

Two-thirds of male victims aged under 20 years sought help as a consequence of a violent incident. According to the victim survey, they are the largest group at risk of crimes in this category. More than half of male victims aged 65 years and older received assistance after a property crime.

Victim support by category of crime and age, 2003

Victim support by category of crime and age, 2003

Young women: more victims of sexual offences

More women than men applied for victim support. Half of female victims under 50 years of age received assistance after being involved in a violent offence.

More than 40 percent of female victims of sexual offences were younger than 20. Two-thirds of female victims aged over 65 were victims of property crimes.

More victims applying for and referred to victim support

Victims of domestic violence are increasingly contacting the organisation: 1,450 in 2001 compared with 4,300 in 2003. In 2003 women in particular sought help (86 percent). Many of them had suffered physical abuse with or without injury, rape and assault.

The police are a very important channel for referring victims to a victim support group. They refer victims who report a criminal offence. More than three-quarters of all people who receive assistance contacted the organisation via the police; 15 percent came on their own initiative.

Nearly 5 thousand victims were referred by victim support groups to professional helpers such as social workers, lawyers and family doctors.

Marcelle van Zee