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Victim rights to be expanded and channeled in Dutch courts

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

ARNHEM - Dutch Junior Minister of Security and Justice Fred Teeven, a former officier van justitie who oversees police investigations and prosecutions, has served notice his government will be introducing a proposal to expand victims’ rights. A legal provision introduced in 2005 grants victims and their next of kin the legal right to speak in court cases, used mostly by victims with trauma-related complaints. Currently, the law restricts victims or next of kin to only speak about the consequences of the crime, but they cannot be called as a witness if they have indicated their desire to speak about the length of a sentence. Various restrictions will be phased out. An information desk will be added to court facilities in the country as central locations for victims’ help. Local mayors also will be included so the community’s authorities are better informed about the release of convicts into the community. More will be done to locate and inform victims of crime of the release of those who harmed them.