Reporting child abuse and domestic violence

Published by:
Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVO
Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVO

Are you a professional working with families, children, or adults? And do you suspect child abuse or domestic violence? You must follow a special protocol.

Mandatory protocol

Are you a professional, working with families, children or adults and do you suspect child abuse or domestic violence? You must have a protocol in place. The Model Protocol for Child Abuse and Domestic Violence offers a five-step plan detailing the best course of action. Each organisation develops its own protocol but it must contain the following steps:

  • Note the signs of child abuse or domestic violence.
  • Consult a colleague and if necessary consult your local or regional Veilig Thuis centre.
  • Speak to the parent or guardian.
  • Determine the severity of the abuse using the protocol checklist (in Dutch).
  • Take two decisions: 1. Do I need to report to Veilig Thuis? (in Dutch). 2. Can I organise or provide assistance?

The Toolkit Protocol for Child Abuse and Domestic Violence (in Dutch) contains tools and information to help organisations developing a protocol.

Which sectors must use the protocol?

The protocol is obligatory in the following sectors:

  • healthcare
  • education
  • childcare
  • social work
  • youth care
  • the (criminal) justice system

You must adopt and implement the protocol and you have to inform your employees about it.

When to report abuse to Veilig Thuis?

If you suspect child abuse or domestic violence, you must report to Veilig Thuis (in Dutch) if:

  • the danger is acute (direct danger)
  • the danger is structural (persistent danger)

In other cases you decide if you can offer help yourself or if you can organise help. Do you start a counselling procedure for suspected child abuse? You must register your plan with Veilig Thuis in your province (in Dutch). If it is not possible to offer help, you must report to Veilig Thuis as well.

Confidential grievance inspector for childcare

Are you an employer in the childcare sector? And do you suspect an employee of (sexual) child abuse? You must contact a Confidential Inspector with the Dutch Inspectorate of Education (Inspectie van het Onderwijs). They also provide counselling to employees and parents.