Dutch police too understaffed to investigate rape, have ‘stern conversation’ with suspect instead

Dutch police are so understaffed that around 350 sex crime cases per year are delayed or not investigated at all. In these cases it takes several months to a year for an investigation to start and suspects to be questioned. Aside from the emotional impact on victims, these delays significantly decrease chances of conviction.

In one case described in Dutch media, a girl who was raped in broad daylight in July was offered an alternative: the suspect would not be questioned until October or November, but the sex crimes detective would initiate a conversation with the suspect, in order to get them to stop commiting crimes. The girl’s parents reluctantly agreed to this course of action, hoping that this would prevent the suspect from victimizing more people.

These conversations are informally called ‘FOEI-gesprek’, which translates roughly to a ‘tut-tut’-conversation. A spokesperson for the police has denied that this is what these conversations are called, but it is the term used in the official police report the family was given.

To make matters worse, having these conversations with suspects makes it more difficult to prosecute them afterwards if the victim decides to press charges.

Meanwhile, self-defense is practically impossible in The Netherlands, as even pepperspray is banned, allowing women and girls no real opportunity to level the playing field against sexual predators.

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