Few rape cases are reported and even fewer make it to court: AD

Just 37% of rape reports made to the police in the first nine months of last year actually led to a formal complaint, the AD reported on Tuesday.

And of the cases which are passed to the public prosecution department, 58% are dropped before they go to court, police and justice ministry figures show. The high percentage of cases being dropped is due to the difficulty of gathering enough evidence, the paper said.

In total, 172 cases went to court in the first nine months of last year and the suspect was found guilty of rape in 102 cases. In a further 42 he was found guilty of sexual assault.

None of the cases dealt with in the courts up to October involved the maximum sentence of 12 years. The most severe sentence handed down by judges was six years, the shortest just 21 days. The average sentence was 17 months.

The fact that almost two-thirds of reports does not become a formal case does not mean that the police are actively discouraging victims from going to court, police spokeswoman Yet van Mastrigt told broadcaster NOS. ‘But a conversation with the police can give the victim other ideas,’ she said.

Justice ministry inspectors are currently looking into reports that the police actively encourage victims not to press charges.

One rape victim told NOS that the two police officers she spoke to were ‘very kind and understanding’ but told her she had to be ‘very certain’ of the facts and that her life would change if she decided to go ahead with the complaint.

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