Presentation of the Stop Femicide! action plan

Presentation of the Stop Femicide! action plan

The Stop Femicide! action plan was presented today. Femicide is lethal violence against women and girls and it occurs at all levels and in all parts of Dutch society. The government wants to do everything it can to prevent femicide and other forms of violence against women and girls. That is why the government is committed to, among other things, improved identification of signs of violence by, for example, the police, the judiciary and the Dutch domestic violence and child abuse organisation ‘Veilig Thuis’ and earlier intervention in cases of domestic violence in order to prevent escalation. The action plan is the result of intensive cooperation with bereaved families of femicide victims, experts in domestic violence and child abuse, organisations that are involved on the ground with victims and perpetrators of domestic violence and child abuse, as well as scientific institutions.

As State Secretary Maarten van Ooijen (Health, Welfare and Sport) explains: “Femicide is a problem that affects the whole of society. Its scale and complexity means you have to look for a solution beyond just the healthcare sector, the police, the judiciary or education. So it’s essential we all work together to make a much-needed difference. The action plan we’re presenting today aims to ensure that we are jointly able to take faster and better action in all kinds of ways when faced with danger. It is certainly intended to be more than a quick fix aimed at improving things in the future and we will have to keep working hard to make sure we continue to do our very best for women and girls. We will also continue to involve bereaved families in the coming years and refine our plans where necessary.”

In the words of Minister Franc Weerwind (Legal Protection): “Women are all too frequently victims of violence driven by jealousy, the urge to control, fear or hate. Sometimes the consequences are fatal. Every victim of femicide is 1 too many and there is no time to waste when it comes to stopping this crime. To do this we need everybody to pull together and by that I mean politicians, the police, the public prosecution service, the Veilig Thuis organisation and society as a whole. Together we can protect potential victims more effectively, improve detection, prevent repetition and punish perpetrators appropriately. This action plan contains specific steps which will make our cooperation a success.”

Minister Robbert Dijkgraaf (Education, Culture and Science) adds: “Femicide is the worst possible manifestation of gender inequality imaginable. The root causes of this violence are embedded in our society’s social norms in relation to how men and women treat each other. As the Minister of Education Culture and Science who is responsible for the emancipation portfolio, I’m delighted with this action plan to tackle femicide. I’d like to thank the bereaved families of victims of femicide for their years of dedication in terms of placing this issue on the political agenda and for their vital contribution to this plan. I believe we’re all responsible for continuing to work to break down gender stereotypes and to eradicate power imbalances. By doing so we will be contributing to women’s emancipation and safety.”

Red flags

In most cases of murder and manslaughter of women, the perpetrator is a(n) (ex-)partner or family member. That is why the approach to femicide will continue to build on the approach to domestic violence, with an additional focus on increasing specific expertise on femicide and collaboration between the parties involved. The plan consists of 4 pillars within which 10 priorities have been identified which will be treated as a priority over the next 2 years. It is important to improve our capacity to identify signs, or so-called red flags, that may be indications of femicide, such as stalking, intimate terrorism or threats. Creating awareness and providing clear prospects for action are essential in this respect, for professionals, potential victims and bystanders alike. Whenever there are suspicions or signals of violence or stalking, a proper and, above all, punctual response is critical in terms of protecting victims and dealing with perpetrators. Priorities include improving both the criminal justice approach to psychological violence and the assistance provided to victims.

Some facts and figures on femicide

Femicide affects women from all walks of life and is not related to religion or financial status. It often takes place in a situation of inequality, coercion and control. According to Statistics Netherlands (Centraal Bureau voor de Statistiek, CBS) the perpetrators in the case of 172 of the 217 women killed in the period between 2018 and 2022 came from their domestic circle. That is equivalent to almost 80%. The number of annual femicide victims did not decrease during the same period. This underlines the importance of an action plan to halt femicide. The plan is going to be adapted for implementation at regional and local level in collaboration with the municipalities, regional authorities and parties in the field.

If you would like to find out more about identifying signs of femicide, or if you are worried about someone you know, please telephone or chat with Veilig Thuis.

Originally published at

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EU editor