Ministers want tougher sentences for sex crimes

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Minister Ivo Opstelten Security and Justice and Deputy Minister Fred Teeven are not in favour of the imposition of community service as a suitable penalty for serious sexual and violent crimes.

In a note sent on Thursday to the Dutch Lower House, Mr Opstelten and Mr Teeven note that such crimes are very profound and traumatic for the victims. Both ministers therefore believe that community service is not a suitable punishment.

The decision goes a step further than the bill that was presented to the House in 2009 by the previous government. That proposal was for a combination of community service and the conditional possible imprisonment of a sex offender.

The ministers want the Public Prosecution Service to be able to send an offender to prison automatically if he or she fails to carry out the community service in a satisfactory manner. At the moment, the law states that the Public Prosecution Service must apply to the court for permission to replace a community service order with a prison sentence. The offender has the possibility to lodge an objection with the judge if he or she has good reasons for not carrying out the community service.

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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