Dutch JW to be investigated by government-appointed commission

by Anders Andersen 25 Replies latest watchtower child-abuse

  • Anders Andersen
    Anders Andersen

    Today a government meeting re. child abuse & JW was held. See this post

    Yesterday, the minister for Protection of Legal Justice sent this letter to the House of Representatives. In this letter, he states he thinks it is important an independent investigation into JW child abuse issues is conducted:

    With this letter I respond to the request of your House [of Representatives] [dated] 13 February 2018 for a written response for the general consultation on child pornography about the treatment of sexual violence within the community of Jehovah's Witnesses.

    Sexual violence is unacceptable and has a major impact on victims. I think it is very important that victims of sexual violence are acknowledged for the suffering they have experienced and have access to the right care and support. Victims deserve support from their environment when reporting the unwanted sexual behavior to the police and when seeking help and support.

    Reports in the media have shown that victims of sexual violence within the JW community did not receive support in reporting the incidents to the police or professional support agencies. It appears that reports of abuse are preferably solved in the community internally. I think this is very disturbing.

    The DA's office is very alert to signals of sexual abuse from the Jehovah's community. To be able to start an investigation, it is important that victims report to the police. The DA's office does not want to involve a victim in criminal proceedings against his or her will, for that can be damaging again (secondary victimization). In addition, it is extremely difficult to start a criminal investigation in a sexual abuse case if the victim does not cooperate. The DA's office can and will act in the event of acute danger connected to the suspicion of abuse. I also note that in individual cases the decision to prosecute or not are to be made by the DA's office.

    Both employees of my department and the police and DA's office have held discussions with representatives of the Reclaimed Voices Foundation. The Foundation received about 200 reports of victims in the few months of its existence. Insofar as victims have said something about the severity of the abuse, it is indicated that this varies from light to heavy forms of sexual abuse. The Foundation informs me that no current abuse cases are known. According to the Foundation, the most recent cases reported date from a few years ago. The Foundation has indicated that in the past 12 cases have been reported to the police. This has led to convictions in 3 cases. At present, there are no active cases with the police and the DA's office, although the lawyer of the Foundation indicates these will follow. *I call on all victims and those involved who seek help to report to the police** or to emergency services such as 'Victim Support Netherlands', 'Safe Home' and the Center for Sexual Violence. I also advised the Foundation to relay this advice to the victims who contact the Foundation.

    In addition to the DA's office's criminal prosecution route, employees of my department are in consultation with the board of the Jehovah's Witnesses, in which the JW board is called to act in order to prevent sexual abuse and to support victims in reporting abuse. I have informed your House [of Representatives] about this by letter of 12 December. My serious concerns about sexual abuse have been communicated to the [JW] board members. I want them to take measures to prevent sexual abuse and that victims are encouraged to report to police or professional support services. In addition, it is important the suffering caused to victims if [officially] acknowledged. It has been agreed with the [JW] board that in the next meeting, taking place on 21 February 2018, they will show how they will give substance to this. In this second meeting with the [JW] board, I will emphasize that the community must take measures to promote a culture of openness and transparency. In this respect, I consider it important that an independent investigation be conducted[2] so that justice can be done to the suffering of the victims. I will inform the House [of Representatives] of the results of the second interview with the board of the Jehovah's.

    The Minister for Protection of Legal Justice,

    Sander Dekker

    Source (Dutch)


    [1] Today 13 victims of abuse within JW have demanded JW to hand over the files of their abuse cases. In addition, Reclaimed Voices has requested the DA's office to demand all files on sexual abuse from JW. Link to news item in Dutch

    [2] Today, during an official committee meeting of the House of Representatives, the minister explained that this investigation into the JW must be headed by a non-JW outsider, a heavy-weight (such as a former minister or secretary of state) who will make sure the investigation is conducted impartially and unbiased.

  • Slidin Fast
    Slidin Fast

    Chip, chip, chip, brick by brick the tower is undermined.

    It seems that the child abuse issue is the universal weak point in the shiny JW Org . Since the 2 witness rule and the cover-up policy applies in every country there is potential for investigation and litigation everywhere. There is only a down-side for the borg in this. They cannot claim persecution or moral outrage, that privilege is reserved for their critics.

    The current policy of aggressive (expensive) litigation and non-disclosure out-of-court settlements is unsustainable and cannot hold back the tide for long. This Dutch example of governmental pressure is one of so many that seem to be brewing round the world. One day they have to hold their hands up and cave. One day.... One day.

  • CovertsadJW

    I love it - the investigation that is.

  • Vidiot

    @ Slidin Fast...


    To paraphrase Pink Floyd...

    ..."another brick from the Wall..."

  • stuckinarut2

    Bring it on!

    The society can no longer sit arrogantly !

    Seems like the chickens have come home to roost!

  • gone for good
    gone for good

    Great news.

    I wonder if the DA office is aware that ALL cases of internal abuse have already had details recorded and shared with Bethel on the S-?? forms (as per WT instructions) ?

    The only way to find out how many, and how damaged their lives were/are would be to demand the files rather than let some lying JWs volunteer damning information.

    The victims could be canvassed by professionals (free from cult influence) to determine what help or actions if any would be appreciated and appropriate.

    Help at last!

  • Anders Andersen
    Anders Andersen
    I wonder if the DA office is aware that ALL cases of internal abuse have already had details recorded and shared with Bethel on the S-?? forms (as per WT instructions) ?

    The Reclaimed Voices Foundation is doing an excellent job at informing all of the public, the House of Representatives, and the DA office. Rest assured that the DA are very well informed of JW policies and practices.

  • redpilltwice

    Thanks Anders.

    My confidence in minister Sander Dekker has grown. He finally seems to understand what it is all about. I also look forward to the efforts of Nico Meijering. I think this lawyer is the best choice to assist Reclaimed Voices and the victims.

  • Bobby2446

    Brick by brick? I don’t think so. If anything, the goal of “Reclaimed Voices” to garner as much negative media attention as humanly possible is a reflection of the failure of anti-jws to bring down the “tower”.

    The only external force capable of bringing down a religion as large and as well-financed as Jws, is a government. But that hasn’t really worked, as when a government tried to collapse JWs, they only grew. So a group of bitter anti-jws certainly have no shot.

    So I guess the next best thing is to use the media. But in reality, have jws EVER received positive media attention? Hardly, and if so, it was a footnote on the last page of a newspaper/internet article.

    Go back to 1918 when the top directors were jailed, which didn’t break them. Go to the 40s and 50s when they lost they the flag salute case and were dogged as being “anti-American” and “communists” all over the media. Still didn’t break it. Go to 2002, when jws were being accused, all over the internet and news, for hiding child abusers. That was almost 20 years ago. Still not broken.

    So what is my point? Apathy, not bad publicity, is a religion’s poison pill.

    But the organization creates enthusiasm with their new meeting program, feature-length movie productions, and digital initiative. Enthusiasm is the cure for apathy.

    So to successfully break the organization “brick by brick”, the membership itself has to do it, and for that to happen, they have to stop caring, which means those in charge have to stop caring first.

    So 130+ years of negative publicity hasn’t worked. No reason to think it will all-of-a-sudden change in 2018.

  • Bobby2446

    Someone may say: “well at least we can use the media to prevent some from joining”.

    So what? People haven’t joined over the course of 130 years! Others have still joined despite the media. It’s really a moot point.

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