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Stalking - Give colleagues time and space to do their jobs

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Stalking - Give colleagues time and space to do their jobs

"Give police colleagues with specialist knowledge in stalking the time and space to do their job properly. And invest in better contacts with victims." So says Janine Janssen, lector of safety in dependency relationships at the Netherlands Police Academy. With this statement she responds to the Dutch report 'Gestalkt. Gezien. Gehoord? (Stalked. Seen. Heard?)' of the Inspection Justice and Security. This report appeared yesterday. The Inspection concludes in the report that the approach to (ex-)partner stalking by parties involved has improved in recent years. But it also gives some advice.

The Netherlands Police, the Public Prosecutor's Office, 'Veilig Thuis' and probation services have been paying more attention to stalking since 2019. They now recognize the signs of stalking better. They respond to it faster and cooperate better. All organizations have invested in people who have specialist knowledge of stalking. However, the role of these colleagues is not firmly embedded everywhere, the report says. "I certainly agree with the report's conclusions", says Janine. "That specialized knowledge is required, is very important. The police officers working on this do so with heart and soul and should be given the time and space to do their jobs well. Give them that time and space and support them. This is necessary to prevent serious offenses. I understand that it is very difficult for the police to fill all vacancies. But they still have to keep filling the specialized tasks, such as fighting stalking. You can only maintain specialties if you invest in them structurally."


Other key recommendations from the report deal with communication with victims. For example, victims often do not have one fixed point of contact within the police. In addition, better agreements must be made about follow-up contact. The wishes and needs of victims should be considered. "Make work of better contact with victims", Janine also says. "Otherwise, victims' trust in the police will be damaged. The report says that the parties cooperate better with each other. But you also work together with the victims. On that point there is still a lot to do. Victims want to feel heard. People sometimes feel like trailblazers in the security industry. You can't just do it for the victims, you have to do it with the victims."

Big problem

"The Netherlands Police have taken up the issue and really improved a number of things, for which they certainly deserve credit. But we're not there yet", Janine concludes. "Violence in dependency relationships, which includes stalking, is the most common form of violence in our society. It is a very big problem, with a lot of social damage. We cannot say: it is 'a' topic that deserves attention. Then we really underestimate how often it happens and how serious it is for the victims.  So, this is definitely a report that the police need to work on. We don't want to wait for the next inspection report. Let's continue on the good path we have taken."

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