Sexual violence victims’ medical bills covered in gov’t experiment
From September 1, victims of sexual violence who seek help from a center for sexual violence (CSG) within seven days will be reimbursed for their medical costs. With this year-long trial the Ministries of Justice and Security and Public Health want to see whether reimbursing medical costs removes a barrier to seeking help.
“The right help at the right time can make a significant difference to victims of serious crimes such as sexual assault. Victims must be able to count on this. Finding help is often difficult enough, so it is important to remove obstacles as much as possible,” Minister Sander Dekker for Legal Protection said.
Victims of sexual violence can find help at one of the 16 CSGs in the country. At such a center, victims can receive all the necessary care in one place. This often consists of a trace evidence investigation, medical care, and psychological assistance. While there are no costs involved in the trace evidence investigation, the costs of the other care fall under the health insurance deductible. Which means that victims have to pay themselves.
The government will now reimburse these costs. The time limit of seven days after the crime was set because it is important for victims to get help as soon as possible. The first seven days after sexual violence are very important to start psychological treatment, and for the prevention of pregnancy and venereal diseases. It is also important for securing trace evidence to track down the perpetrator.
“Victims of sexual violence deserve proper protection, shelter and support, That is why we must remove any thresholds as much as possible. By reimbursing medical costs, we hope that healthcare will become more accessible for this vulnerable group,” Ministers Hugo de Jonge of Public Health an Tamara van Ark for Medical Care said.