Grapperhaus agrees with Inspectorate's report on Hümeyra

Earlier today, Minister of Justice and Security Ferdinand Grapperhaus submitted the Inspectorate's report on the approach to the stalking of Hümeyra by Bekir E. to the Lower House of Parliament, also on behalf of Minister for Legal Protection Sander Dekker and Minister of Health, Welfare and Sport Hugo de Jonge. The Inspectorate concluded that there were severe shortcomings in the approach to the stalking.

Sixteen-year-old Hümeyra was shot and killed near her school in Rotterdam on 18 December 2018. Her ex-boyfriend Bekir E., who had been stalking her, is being prosecuted for the killing. The Inspectorate of Justice and Security has investigated the actions of the authorities involved. It has emerged from the Inspectorate's report that Hümeyra was insufficiently protected by the police, the Dutch Probation Service, Veilig Thuis (Safe at Home), the care and safety house in question and the Public Prosecution Service (OM), who collectively failed to assess the actual risk. Although a restraining order had been imposed on her stalker, he was repeatedly able to violate it without facing any consequences. There was also a lack of cooperation and coordination among the authorities involved. The Inspectorate found that the only organisation that paid sufficient attention to the constant violation of Hümeyra's life by Bekir E. was Victim Support Netherlands.

Minister Grapperhaus agrees with the Inspectorate's conclusion and recommendations. 'All parties involved in this case need to learn from it. We owe it to Hümeyra, her next of kin and society.' The report confirms the need for maximum haste and urgency in implementing existing plans to improve the criminal justice system as well as the care services in daily practice. Such a working method is also in line with the Inspectorate's recommendations of devoting attention to identification, monitoring and communication and taking the victim seriously.

In addition, measures will be implemented that the Inspectorate will evaluate by mid-2020. These measures should result in earlier recognition of stalking and its risks, more effective safety procedures for victims and a firmer response to stalkers. For all reports of stalking by ex-partners, the screening instrument should be used in order to determine the risk level straight away. If the risk is deemed excessive, the police should get in touch with the OM and Veilig Thuis immediately to take security measures for the victim. Furthermore, a search engine will be created to list cases that are not instantly recognised as stalking. This list of potential cases with an ex-partner as the stalker can be retrieved following a notification or report, which will enable an eventual identification as stalking and the taking of the necessary action.

The crucial step after recognition and a safety assessment is a quick response to new information. A case director from the core police team in the victim's district will supervise and coordinate the case, serve as a point of contact for colleagues and chain partners and adjust and escalate if required. The daily ZSM table consultation between the police, the Dutch Probation Service, Victim Support Netherlands, the OM and possibly Veilig Thuis will become the default body for designing as well as safeguarding cross-organisational coordination in stalking cases. Victim Support Netherlands will also be given the option to escalate grave concerns about victims' safety directly to fixed contact persons within the police, the Dutch Probation Service and the OM.

In future, the police and the OM will act sooner as well as more firmly when a stalker violates a restraining order, an exclusion order or any other conditions imposed. The key principle is that offenders face the consequences of their behaviour at an earlier stage. If there is an elevated risk of stalking by ex-partners, the Dutch Probation Service will always consider the use of an electronic tag. Protection orders will be made visible to control rooms as well, ensuring that police officers on the beat are informed in case of an emergency notification.