The Netherlands: Minister for Legal Protection wants Jehovah's Witnesses to conduct an independent investigation of sexual abuse

by jochie 10 Replies latest watchtower child-abuse

  • jochie

    Meanwhile in the Netherlands:

    Minister Dekker: Jehovah's Witnesses must review abuse policy

    In order to protect children better against abuse, the Jehovah's Witnesses must look back on Catholics, according to Minister Dekker. But abuse victims think that this approach will not work.

    Minister Sander Dekker for Legal Protection wants the Jehovah's Witnesses to conduct an independent investigation of sexual abuse within the community, just like the Catholic Church. This is stated in a letter he sent this week to the Parliamentary Committee for Justice and Security. In July, he asked for a reaction to the 'worrisome messages' in Trouw about the way in which the religious organization handles abuse.

    Research from this newspaper showed that the internal legal system that the religious organization uses, protects children poorly and ensures that perpetrators often go free. Last month, the Jehova board of the ministry had a meeting to discuss what measures they are taking to prevent this.

    The minister advised the administration to 'study and, where possible, take the measures of the Catholic Church against sexual abuse'. He points to the important contribution of the independent investigation by the Deetman Commission, set up by the church itself.

    Followers follow

    Michel van Hilten, spokesperson for the Jehovah's Witnesses, does not want to say whether such research will come about because discussions with the ministry are still ongoing. "We are going to study the measures of the Catholic Church," says Van Hilten. According to him, the board, based in Emmen, has already taken 'a great deal' of measures 'in line with what other organizations do'.

    When asked what that means in practice, he says: "You can think of things like monitoring and following perpetrators of child abuse." The Jehovah's Witnesses are a Christian society with some 30,000 supporters in the Netherlands, who frequently visit the doors go and proclaim their faith in Jehovah on the street.

    Dekker's desk

    The newly established Reclaimed Voices foundation, which defends abuse victims within the Jehovah's Witnesses, is pleased that 'the problem now lies on the minister's desk', says co-founder and abuse victim Frank Huiting. According to the foundation the measures of the Catholic Church 'do not cover what happens within the witness' community.

    Huiting: "The measures are aimed at officials, but the problem with the witnesses is larger than that; it is about the way in which abuse is dealt with through an internal legal system." The letter from the minister revolves around prevention of abuse, he notes. "That's important, but what happens to the suffering that has already happened?"

    Reclaimed Voices wants to discuss this with both the minister and the Jehovah's Witnesses. The jehovah's Witnesses' board earlier indicated that they were prepared to do so.This conversation has not yet taken place, despite insistence, according to Huiting. Spokesman Van Hilten indicates that the Jehovah's Witnesses want to wait for the follow-up discussion at the ministry.

    Incidentally, the question is whether the administration in the Netherlands can change anything about the abuse policy. That is the same internationally and is determined by the head office in New York. Minister Dekker does not yet know what he will do if the board refuses to take over the measures of the Catholic Church. "We are not going to anticipate this", according to his spokesman.

    Original News Paper article in Dutch:

  • darkspilver
  • zeb

    and he believes does he that they would conduct an honest inquiry? would someone in Holland send him the report from the ARC please or better still the footage of the bumbling deceptive buffoons of elders while in the dock.

  • Half banana
    Half banana

    How interesting that the Dutch government imagine that the JW leadership in Holland is a responsible group who are actually interested the protection and welfare of its members. This is not the case historically and it is not the case institutionally as directed from HQ in New York State. The JW belief in an imminent apocalyptic destruction of the world precludes focus on individual welfare concerns.

    The second consideration they should be aware of is that the JW administration has no experience or incentive for objective self-assessment. Their modus operandi is the cultivation and practice of doctrines sustained by constant propaganda. The only real world problems they organize are financial ones. When it comes to spending time or money on matters for individual members well-being; it does not exist. Its stratagems of policy are about avoiding bad publicity and maintaining a squeaky clean public image.

    It will be interesting to see what the Dutch government do and what they are able to enforce with the JW org.

    The Dutch government does not realize that Jehovah’s Witnesses are an irresponsible cult which is not interested in membership welfare however much protest they may hear to the contrary. The religion's primary concern is for fidelity to its governing body and even for those counted as loyal, no money is spent on humanitarian benevolence except in rare cases where to do otherwise would be considered a loss of good publicity.

    Rehabilitation of those who have been abused does not exist in any official compassionate form by Jehovah's Witnesses organization, reading the victims a few scriptures is hardly a serious response to deep psychological damage. The religion hopes the abused will get better or go away but certainly they should keep quiet, again for avoiding bad publicity.

    The selective Biblical literalism which empowers JW belief system is totally inadequate for maintaining the high standards expected in the developed world. So the Dutch government should be apprised of these matters and also of the ARC child abuse investigation of Jehovah's Witnesses and it findings.

    It will be interesting to see what the Dutch government can actually do.

  • The Fall Guy
    The Fall Guy

    Is this Dutch government minister really so out of touch with what's going with the WTBTS in courts around the world - especially in Australia?

    He should do some Googling and see the GB's declaration about not abandoning the two-witness rule, before speaking publicly about what he'd like the cult to do about JW child-abusers. Then he might consider getting his government to do something meaningful.

  • Anders Andersen
    Anders Andersen

    I think it's awesome that the Dutch government told the JW to look at and imitate the process the Catholic Church (in the Netherlands) went through.

    That's a big burn right there...

  • redpilltwice

    Great news jochie! Kudos to Dutch newspaper Trouw who is clearly giving attention to this JW abuse problem. They've already published three excellent articles regarding JW abuse on a row this year.

    I remember how the official Deetman commission (a bit similar to the ARC) released investigation findings that kicked the RC ass in 2011. It got quite some media attention. Although many people knew about the abuse, the Dutch in general were still shocked and many members left the already weakened Catholic church.

    Let's see if this "next step" will bring some light to the "truth" in the Netherlands.

  • jochie

    I read a lot of scepptic reactions.

    Would you expect a gorvernment minsister of The Netherlands know whats going around the rest of the world in relation to sexual abuse in the Witness comunity?

    This is just a start!. I am the chairman of the Reclaimed Voices foundation and we will certainly be heatd by the minister. In this hearing we will refer to the ARC reports.

    Government officials are not trained to see the double speech of the Wachtower society, so there is a task for us here.

  • Anders Andersen
    Anders Andersen

    Hoi jochie,

    Thanks for sharing, and thank you and the other brave volunteers of Reclaimed Voices.

    Know that you are making an impact, changing lives for the better!

  • redpilltwice
    This is just a start!. I am the chairman of the Reclaimed Voices foundation and we will certainly be heatd by the minister. In this hearing we will refer to the ARC \reports.

    I know it's just a start and references to ARC and Deetman Commission will only help the case. I think it's a privilege to have you on this forum and thank you for all the efforts jochie. I'm also Dutch so a private pm in our mother language is always optional.

    Government officials are not trained to see the double speech of the Wachtower society, so there is a task for us here.

    So true and double speech it is! Here is a link to the official answer of the Dutch minister Sander Dekker where he reacts to a request of a Commission for Justice and Safety that asks attention for the Trouw articles. Sorry it's in Dutch. I found no available translation but it's as official as it can be!

    In that letter it is mentioned that there has been contact between the minister's department and JW board members. These JW officials have claimed that measures have been taken to prevent sexual abuse and that victims are stimulated to report to the police. [bold mine]

    As a resigned elder I have experienced first hand that these words are not true in most cases and deliberately leave a misleading impression. The use of the word "stimulated" is so wrong as every informed person knows that the elders were always told not to forbid nor encourage such actions. My experience up to 2015 is that they would not bring it up unless the victim brought it up. Certain details in their policies may have been changed recently, but we all know that many victims already have been damaged by these policies for decades. WT is trying to save face in the very last second of a long history of abuse scandals, but with so many voices being heard the truth will be known through all the personal testimonies of JW abuse victims.

    Good luck with your mission and your invitation to also talk to officials of the ministry!

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