Danish rape victims forced to wait months to see psychologist

Inadequate resources and increase in patient numbers to blame

Rape victims in Denmark have to wait a considerable amount of time to see a psychologist at one of the nation’s four specialist centres.

According to a survey conducted by state broadcaster DR, victims of rape and attempted rape are being forced to wait up to a year to get treatment from a psychologist. The waiting time in Aalborg is three months, while it’s four months in Odense, seven months in Copenhagen and up to 12 months in Aarhus.

According to the centres, the long waiting times are down to a lack of resources and an increase in patients.

“It’s really positive that people are seeking help and more aware they can obtain assistance. But it’s a shame we haven’t been allocated more resources to cover the added workload,” Lise Nissen-Lauritzen, a psychologist at the centre for rape victims in Aalborg, told DR Nyheder.

“Ultimately, it means people must wait much longer for the first preliminary conversations.”

READ MORE: Rape and offences involving violence up, but crime rates in Denmark generally falling

Maelstrom of #MeToo
Nissen-Lauritzen said rape victims can experience serious consequences by being forced to wait for treatment, but the silver lining is that more people are reporting rape to the authorities.

Figures from the national statistics keeper Danmarks Statistik showed that there were almost 900 reports of rape in 2017, compared to 791 in 2016.

“There is a lot more awareness about it, and it has also been influenced by the #MeToo wave. So I hope the waiting times are reduced. A realistic bid would be to get it down to a few weeks,” said Nissen-Lauritzen.

Jerk at work
In related news, a new survey compiled by one of Denmark’s biggest unions, HK, revealed that 17 percent of its female members had encountered unwanted sexual approaches at work.

Most of the undesirable attention came from a colleague or a boss. Meanwhile, 6 percent of male HK members said they had experienced unwanted sexual approaches at work.