From the age of nine, Y. lived in a home for mentally handicapped children. One night she was woken up by the son-in-law of the director of the institution (who lived on the premises but was not employed there). The man forced Y. to follow him to his room, to undress and to have sex with him.
Y.’s father, X., went to the local police station to ask that criminal proceedings be started against his daughter’s attacker. However, the authorities refused to issue charges. According to Dutch law at the time, criminal proceedings could only be started if they were initiated by the alleged victim.
Everyone agreed that Y. was incapable of launching proceedings herself. Nevertheless, the Dutch courts ruled that her father could not launch proceedings on her behalf. There was a gap in the law, which meant that no criminal prosecution could be started when the victim did not launch it herself.
Y.’s father argued that there must be justice for the sexual abuse.