When and where do I go for help?
The care described on this page is valid for the Dutch situation. Contact us, firstname.lastname@example.org, if you have information that will help us map this out for other countries?
When you get pregnant as a result of sexual abuse, a lot happens at the same time. You may have all sorts of complicated feelings such as anger, disgust and shame, or you may feel guilty. You are also faced with a difficult decision about your unborn child. Do you want to keep it or not? Sometimes you have no choice, because terminating a pregnancy is not possible for cultural or religious reasons. You may also have discovered the pregnancy too late, which means that the period within which you can terminate the pregnancy has lapsed.
It's very good to discuss difficult decisions like this with someone you trust. If there are no people whom you trust enough, consult with your GP. Your GP can refer you to a suitable organisation.
If you want to keep the child, questions and doubts may still persist. Can I be a mother now? Can I see my baby as separate from the abuse, or will I be reminded of it all the time? Will I be able to love the child and will I manage to give this child what it needs so that it can grow and develop?
Most women in this situation think a lot about these things. It is good to discuss these questions. You can do this with a good friend, someone who has been through a similar experience or with someone from an organisation where you can go for help.
There are other useful questions such as: what things do I need and how do I get them, can I still finish my education? On this page you will find more information.
Problems after sexual violence
On the page about sexual trauma you can read about physical and emotional complaints often occurring after experiencing forced sexual contact. In the event of physical complaints, it is good to seek help as soon as possible through your GP.
If any emotional complaints last longer than a month, we recommend seeking help for this. These complaints will not pass if you do not work on them! Maybe you'd rather not talk about such a traumatic experience, and you might feel ashamed. We recommend talking about it anyway. It might
be a relief to tell someone what you've been through. Remember that healthcare providers, such as doctors or therapists, must observe their professional confidentiality. This means that whatever you tell them in confidence, they can't tell anyone, unless this puts you or your child in danger. As a victim of a sexual trauma, you can get emotional support from various organisations. People who work at these organisations will support you in processing your trauma and finding an answer to your questions. This will help you feel better. And that in turn helps your child.
Where can you get emotional help?
You can discuss your situation with your GP so that they can help you find the right support and refer you to people who can help you, such as doctors and therapists. Your GP can, for instance, refer you to a psychologist. Psychologists can teach you how to deal with negative thoughts. They can also provide treatment for trauma.
Even if you are not insured, you are entitled to medically necessary care. So you can go to a GP. A GP can charge the costs of medically necessary care to the CAK.
Centrum Seksueel Geweld (Sexual Assault Centre)
This organisation provides assistance to victims of sexual assault. You can talk to them about what you've been through. A team of doctors, nurses, police, psychologists, social workers and sexologists is ready to help you. On the site centrumseksueelgeweld.nl you can chat for free, or call 0800-0188 for free and anonymously.
Centrum Seksueel en Familiair Geweld (Centre for Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence) (Radboud UMC Nijmegen)
This centre provides emergency care within seven days of sexual assault. If you need immediate care, please call 024-3614187. For advice, please call 024-3224340.
The 'Break the Silence' Helpline
Don't keep your problems to yourself. The telephone helpline of Slachtofferhulp Nederland (Victim Support) provides emotional, legal and practical support. Call them on 0900-9999-001.
Fiom is an organisation where they know everything about (unwanted) pregnancies. Fiom staff can help you make choices such as whether you want to keep your child. They can refer you to other support. On working days, you can reach them on 088-1264900.
Fier helps victims of violence by providing advice, counselling, shelter and treatment. Are you an adolescent? You can chat with a support worker on www.chatmetfier.nl. They can also be reached 24 hours a day by telephone on 088-2080000.
Where can you go for gynaecological problems?
Sexual assault can leave you with all sorts of problems. These can include pain, a wound in your vagina, urinary problems and bleeding. Some experts in the field of sexual violence and gynaecology are listed in the table below. For a complete overview, please visit http://www.beschadigdlichaam.nl/
University Pelvic Floor Centre
Telephone: 050 3613540
Expert: Dr A Malmberg
Telephone: 020 5669111
Expert: Dr JP Roovers
Bronovo Hospital The Hague
Telephone: 070 3124584
Experts: Dr Pelikan & Dr Witte
Pelvic Care Centre (AMC+/MUMC)Maastricht
Telephone: 043 3874800
Expert: Prof Dr Van Koeveringe
Telephone: 050 3613 540
Expert: Dr B Messelink
Telephone: 071 5262304
Expert: Dr HW Elzevier
MC Slotervaart Amsterdam
Telephone: 020 5129333
Expert: Dr EHJ Weil
Together In Motion Physiotherapy Delft
Telephone: 015 2620 513
Expert: Ms T van den Bos
Pelvic Expertise Centre PelvicMotion Naarden
Telephone: 035 694 64 40
Experts: Mrs. Judith Jesterhoudt & Mrs. Wilma Tempelaars
Pelvicum Physiotherapy Groningen
Experts: Ms FEH Nijman- du Bois & Ms I Hemel
Telephone: 030 2250 260
Experts: Dr C Deen – Molenaar & Dr Vander Mijnsbrugge & Dr V Rempe
Bronovo Hospital The Hague
Telephone: 070 3124584
Expert: Dr De Wit
Asking for help, parent – child relationship
Above, we mentioned a number of complaints that constitute a good reason to ask for help. This can help you and your child. If you're doing better, you'll be able to take better care of your child. It is important for the development of your child that you are there for your child with a lot of love.
Sometimes your relationship with your child is difficult. For example, if you feel that your child is challenging you on purpose, or if you don't feel positive feelings towards your child. It's not uncommon if you don't always love your child, or if you feel you'd like to be without your child for a while. Other mothers feel this too at times. This happens especially when you're very tired. If this is a lasting feeling, it means that building a relationship with your child is not just going to happen. You can ask for help with this. It shows that you want to be a good mother, you will not be rejected for it.
A midwife is someone who helps you with your pregnancy and childbirth. Have you contacted a midwife yet? The midwife checks that everything is going well and provides help during pregnancy and childbirth. It is important to receive this service as soon as possible. You can make an appointment with the midwife directly, you do not have to go to your GP first. You can also ask her to help you find more psychological or social support for your child.
You can find a midwife near you through the national website
Care related to the birth. Birth care is covered by medically necessary care, so even if you are not insured, you can visit a midwife. The midwife can charge her costs to the CAK.
Precautionary Care (GGD Health Service)
The ‘Precautionary Care‘ programme offers practical and emotional support for (expectant) mothers. You can start the programme during pregnancy, up to 2 years after the birth of your child. Go to the website or ask your midwife if the programme is also offered in your area.
Child Healthcare Centres
All children in the Netherlands are monitored from birth until the age of 18. Their health, height, weight and development are monitored. They also receive vaccinations against childhood diseases.
In the beginning, you will be invited for is regular visits. As the child gets older, these visits are reduced. The doctors and nurses know a lot about children. You can ask them questions if there's anything you want to know or if you have any concerns. This care is organised per municipality, so make sure to ask about it as soon as your child is born.
Helping parents and their children is organised by councils. Each council organises this care at their discretion.
Ask your GP or midwife how this care is organised in your council. For example, it could be the GGD, or a Parent-Child team, or a Youth and Family Centre.
All these forms of support for children and their parents can offer help to parents and children where necessary.
There are mother-baby groups in many places in the country. At a mother-baby group you get to know other mothers and you can share experiences. Ask the child healthcare centre or your GP.
There are other organisations where you can go for specialist help. You need a referral for this from your GP. Discuss with your GP which organisations could help you. Three examples of this are the Psychotraumacentrum Zuid Nederland, Stichting Arq-Centrum 45 and De Evenaar.
Psychotraumacentrum Zuid Nederland, Reinier van Arkel
Psychotraumacentrum Zuid Nederland helps mothers who have experienced sexual violence and have subsequently become pregnant. They are experiencing problems as a result of this traumatic event, and are a mother at the same time. The psychologists who work here know how best to help you and your child. They first focus on you and your past and will do everything they can to help your child. Visit the website for more information and contact:
Stichting Arq-Centrum 45
The Stichting Arq foundation cares for people with psychological trauma and their children. Mothers who have experienced sexual assault can get treatment here. They are experiencing problems as a result of this traumatic event, and are a mother at the same time. They provide parent-child treatments to improve the relationship.
De Evenaar, GGZ Drenthe
De Evenaar helps people from different cultural backgrounds. Such as migrants and migrant workers, refugees and asylum seekers. People of all ages, including children, can turn to de Evenaar.