Most sex offences going unpunished
9 February 2005, AMSTERDAM — Sex offenders in the Netherlands have a relatively high chance of escaping unpunished, with new research revealing just 650 convictions are recorded each year out of 15,000 incidents reported to police.
9 February 2005
AMSTERDAM — Sex offenders in the Netherlands have a relatively high chance of escaping unpunished, with new research revealing just 650 convictions are recorded each year out of 15,000 incidents reported to police.
The public prosecutor takes on 2,700 cases of rape, indecent assault or lewd acts each year, 63 percent of which are taken to court. The prosecutor deals with the remaining cases itself.
In 25 percent of cases — and a third of all rape cases — justice officials decided against prosecuting the suspects due to a lack of "valid evidence", newspaper Trouw reported on Wednesday. Previous research has indicated that sex cases often involve the victim's testimony pitted that against the defendant's claims.
But researchers with the judiciary's academic centre WODC also asserted on Wednesday that judges often find there is too little evidence in sex abuse and paedophile cases. Fifteen percent of sex suspects are thus acquitted, compared with crime in general, which carries an acquittal rate of 4 percent.
Victim surveys have indicated that 1 percent of the population aged 15 or more has been confronted with a sex crime, but only a small amount report the matter to police.
This is due to the fact that in 75 percent of the cases, victim and culprit know each other, the WODC researchers said. More than half are family members and other cases often involve colleagues, teachers and friends.
Researchers Mariska Brouwers and Paul Smit said culprits and victims are relatively young, with 40 percent of victims 12 years of age or younger. About 20 percent are aged between 12 and 15. The majority of victims are female (85 percent).
One out of five culprits is an underage male, but the average age of a sex offender is 32, compared with 15.8 for victims. Almost three-quarters of the culprits were born in the Netherlands, which falls to 60 percent in rape cases.
Threats with a weapon and the actual use of such only occur in 2 to 3 percent of cases, the newspaper reported.
Some 50 percent of sentenced sex offenders are given a suspended sentence or a work order. In one third of sentences, the sexual delinquent is jailed and the average jail term is 16 months. Five percent of convicted offenders are sentenced to TBS psychiatric detention, amounting to 80 criminals every year.
[Copyright Expatica News 2005]
Subject: Dutch news