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Netherlands Police Academy is developing a teaching aid package on the new Sexual Crimes Act for tens of thousands of police colleagues

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Someone grabs a victim by the buttocks with his hand. An example of transgressive behavior.

From July 1, 2024, victims of sexual crimes, such as sexual assault and rape, can report these crimes in more situations. Tens of thousands of police colleagues must be trained before July 1 to be able to properly apply the new legislation. The Netherlands Police Academy, together with the Netherlands Police, is taking care of this enormous job. "We are very proud of the educational resources package that has been available since April 1 of this year."

New article on street intimidation

Victims of before July 1, 2024 must make it clear that there was coercion. This is no longer necessary under the new Sexual Offenses Act. Police colleagues in blue will soon also have to deal with the new article on street intimidation (online and offline). "The core of the new law is that any form of sexual interaction must always be voluntary and equal", says Ciska. She is a teacher within the Thematic Investigation Team, sexual crimes cluster of the Netherlands Police Academy. "The old law was mainly about breaking the will. The new law revolves around the lack of consent and equality. There must be 'consent'."

Arjan, Ciska's fellow teacher: "The new law is actually a modernization of the old one. A modernization of the criminalization of various forms of sexual misconduct. But also in the technological field. With a better connection to social issues, such as #metoo."

Education for a very broad group

Ciska and Arjan provide education for trainee vice detectives. "But the group we have to train is much broader. The new legislation affects many different aspects of police work", says Ciska. "It not affects the vice detectives, but also the area-based police (GGP). From intake and service employees and employees in the basic teams. To assistant public prosecutors (HOVJs) and employees of the Aliens Police, Identification and Human Trafficking Department (AVIM)", says Arjan.

Ciska: "We also have all the teachers from the Police Academy. They provide education for the groups that have to deal with the new Sexual Offenses Act. They all need to be trained, so that they can include this in their education."

Old and new legislation

Ciska and Arjan mapped all this out and organized and developed the educational resources. In order to do that, they are freed from their normal work. What made it extra difficult is that colleagues will soon have to know the new and old legislation.

Ciska: "The old legislation continues to apply to facts that took place before July 1 of this year. As a colleague, you must therefore know exactly when the offense was committed in order to be able to file the correct report. We also had to take this into account in the development of the learning materials package."

Close cooperation

The learning materials package provides all groups with the correct knowledge between April 1 and July 1. The Netherlands Police Academy developed the package together with the Netherlands Police and the Public Prosecution Service. Arjan: "We came up with a package of learning resources where learning is short, powerful, attractive and with a lot of variety. Learning can also be fun and attractive.

We had everything we developed in the beginning reviewed. Various working groups carried out these reviews. These working groups included vice detectives from different units, but also employees from the GGP field. So that those colleagues also started to feel a kind of ownership. The insights from practice were very enlightening. Especially because at some point you start reading about certain things yourself. The Public Prosecution Service also looked at the legal content of the modules and the case studies."

Time and place independent

The learning materials package can be used completely independent of time and place, Ciska knows. "It includes short e-learning modules on various topics of the Sexual Offenses Act. They are short and powerful, with fun interactive elements, such as videos and animations. It also contains questions for the necessary deepening.

Police colleagues can view various reference works via links. We have also designed case studies. We mainly focus on collaborative learning and reflection. This allows colleagues to really discuss the various topics in this new law. Grab reference books and discuss together what the right answer is."

The moral detective's Bible

In addition to the e-learning modules and case studies, the teachers created infographics. This also contains the articles of the new legislation. So that colleagues can see at a glance what these articles mean. In text and in images.

There is also an evidence matrix for sexual crimes. Arjan: "Each article in this law consists of components that must be proven. We created the sexual crimes evidence matrix with a legal working group. This working group consisted of colleagues from the various vice teams, experts at the Netherlands Vice Program for Child Pornography and Child Sex Tourism. And also, the national morals officer and the Public Prosecution Service.

The previous evidence matrix was about the old legislation. Vice detectives in particular use this matrix. Also called the moral detective's bible. The new evidence matrix for sexual crimes can be used by everyone. And is available via the Blue Theme Sexual Offenses Act page."

Customization per group

Agreements have been made within the morals, GGP and AVIM work fields to facilitate colleagues in their professionalization at the Sexual Offenses Act. Individually, but sometimes also with colleagues, to work and learn together. Ciska: "The GGP police officers are advised to complete at least three learning modules. And discuss case studies with each other. The vice detectives must complete all modules.

We have clearly indicated for each group who can go through what. It is actually tailor-made. To ensure that everyone knows in time before the new law comes into effect."

Beautiful and useful product

To ensure a proper rollout of the entire package among the various groups, there are implementation managers for each group. Ciska: "In a webinar we will discuss what employees in the field have encountered. And we discuss case law. What will happen in practice with the Sexual Crimes Act by then?"

Arjan: "Developing the learning materials package in recent months has been a great challenge. But I think that we at the Netherlands Police Academy, together with HRO and the Netherlands Police, have created a very nice and useful product. A package that is supported more widely than just within the Netherlands Police Academy."

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