The Netherlands introduces code word to help domestic violence victims get help

The Netherlands will follow other European countries by introducing a code word that victims of domestic violence can use at pharmacies to discretely ask for help. 

Because everyone is at home at the moment, the risk of domestic violence is greater. That has been the case in other European countries as well, with France experiencing a 30% increase in reports of domestic violence since the beginning of lockdown, and Spain experiencing a 50% increase since the beginning of April.

Information campaign and extra helplines open

In the Netherlands, there aren’t any official figures on this yet, but care providers and organisations say they are expecting an increase in reports. More helplines, WhatsApp channels and chat services have already been set up, and last weekend, the domestic violence organisation Veilig Thuis set up an information campaign.

What is the code word, and how do you use it?

The code word that can be used by victims of domestic violence is ‘masker 19’ (mask 19 in English). Someone who is struggling with domestic violence can say it to a pharmacy employee, who will then put them in touch with the Veilig Thuis aid organization.

This new code word was originally supposed to be launched by the Minister for Health, Hugo de Jonge, this week, but has now been postponed til next week, NRC reports. 

You can follow DutchReview on Facebook for more updates about the coronavirus situation in the Netherlands.

Feature Image: Anna Shvets/Pexels

Ailish Lalor
Ailish Lalor
Ailish was born in Sydney, Australia, but grew up by a forest in south-east Ireland, which she has attempted to replace with a living room filled with plants in The Hague. Besides catering to her army of pannenkoekenplantjes, Ailish spends her days convincing her friends that all food is better slightly burnt, plotting ways to hang out with dogs and cats, and of course, writing for DutchReview.


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