In all 35 regional authority areas there are domestic violence advice and support centres (ASHGs). These centres constitute a nationwide network of institutions providing prevention and victim support services. They are high-profile organizations which are accessible to every member of the public. The official working language of the centres is Dutch. However, when necessary the centres bring in interpreters. The centres play a significant role in developing partnerships at local and regional level. Victims, perpetrators and people with concerns about domestic violence can go to the centres for advice and referrals. The institutional chains of which they form part - usually including the police, criminal justice authorities and the Advice and Reporting Centres for Child Abuse and Neglect - ensure that adequate shelter and support services are available. They target different groups, e.g. abuse of elderly people, victims of honour violence. Migrant women are sometimes difficult to reach, but the ASHG's are aware of this problem and seek to find solutions.
The Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport has provided the following budgetary allocations:
- a specific-purpose grant for Women's shelter and domestic violence advice and support centres (ASHG)'s (under the Social Support Act), on a structural basis: €55 million.
- Additional funding: almost € 18 million in 2008 rising to over € 32 million form 2012 onwards to expand shelter capacity, strengthen the ASHG's, ensure more rapid and effective help (crisis intervention), improve the quality of shelters, increase the expertise of professionals and make vigorous efforts to prevent FGM and honour violence.
Source of Information
Response of the Government of the Netherlands to the questionnaire on violence against women, February 2009