The shelters for victims of honour-related violence are overcrowded. The two national expertise and treatment centers Fier and Sterk Huis are experiencing a sharp increase in the number of new registrations, according to a survey by NRC. Young victims in particular have been out of the picture during the corona crisis and are now still being treated by the emergency services.
Fier, which takes care of victims between the ages of 12 and 29 in Leeuwarden and Rotterdam, had only occupied an average of 4 beds during the corona crisis at the end of last year, compared to 35 now. In recent years there have been an average of between 8 and 15 victims in shelters. At Sterk Huis in Tilburg, about 17 beds have been continuously occupied in recent months, while there is room for 10.
Proudly attributes the increase to the reopened society. “Parents do not report this specific problem,” says driver Anke van Dijke. “Because they are often involved themselves. So you need people around the victims who can pick up on signals and make a report. But due to the closure of schools and sports clubs, that dried up enormously.”
“The increase is now so great because the police are returning to people’s homes and the schools are open again,” says Ilona Brekelmans, chief practitioner at Sterk Huis.
According to Van Dijke, there is little scope left in the number of reception places. Because honour-related violence requires specialist help, there are separate reception centers for this. On average, victims stay in shelters for two to three months.
Honour-related violence stems from cultures where women carry the honor of the family. If it is violated, the family steps in. This can be done through violence, oppression or rejection. Also among hooligans, caravan dwellers and Orthodox bible belt-residents honour-related violence takes place.
It is unknown how many victims of honour-related violence there are in the Netherlands. Every year, the National Expertise Center for Honor Related Violence (LEC EGG) receives approximately five hundred reports. But those are the most complex cases where the police need help from experts. Victims often do not ask for help and signs of honor violence are not always recognized by police and health care workers.
During the corona crisis, the code word ‘mask 19’ was introduced to pharmacists, with which victims can discreetly ask for help. But that code word is hardly used, according to a survey last week by Loyalty.
Also read the story of a hidden woman: Until she was 37, Sedef had always been silent
A version of this article also appeared in NRC in the morning of June 22, 2021