35 percent of local and regional politicians had to deal with aggression and violence in the past year, according to the Monitor Integrity and Security 2020 on Thursday. It was 23 percent six years ago.
The survey was conducted among administrators and representatives of the people in municipalities, provinces and water boards. 33 percent say they have experienced verbal aggression, especially on social media. That percentage has been rising for years.
Representatives have also reported an increase in the number of threats and intimidations. This is an increase to 16 percent. Furthermore, 2 percent of the politicians experienced physical aggression. This percentage has been stable since 2014.
Especially in the provinces and water boards, aggression and violence have occurred more often in the past two years. For example, in 2014 a quarter of provincial politicians had to deal with incidents like this, now it is 49 percent. According to the researchers, this development is partly explained by the nitrogen crisis and subsequent farmer protests.
Politicians' experiences of aggression and violence
- 2014: 23 percent
- 2016: 27 percent
- 2018: 29 percent
- 2020: 35 percent
Incidents are not always discussed
68 percent of the victims discuss the incidents, often with someone within the organization. The rest do not do this because, for example, they do not consider the incident serious enough or belong to their position. Fewer incidents are registered and fewer reports are made.
41 percent of politicians who have experienced aggression and violence say they experience negative consequences, mainly for job satisfaction and their own behavior. 8 percent say that the risk of coming into contact with aggression and violence has consequences for their own decisions.
Minister Kasja Ollongren (Home Affairs), who sent the investigation to the House of Representatives on Thursday, emphasizes that "aggressive statements and intimidation against people with a public task are not acceptable".
Although help is already available, Ollongron wants to take more measures. For example, it wants more reporting and support points for aggression and violence, so that a better picture of all incidents is sketched. The idea is that municipalities, provinces and water boards can use this to design a better resilience approach.