RTL Nieuws – 21st February 2018
Jehovah’s Witnesses refuse victims access to files
Victims of sexual child abuse within Jehovah’s Witnesses Netherlands are not yet given access to the data that the denomination has about them. The organization informed the lawyer of the victims by letter.
Jehovah’s Witnesses do not want to cooperate because they do not know on what legal basis the victim’s request is based, they write.
Thirteen victims want to see the ‘criminal files’ that the denomination would have about their individual abuse cases. Perpetrators of child abuse within Jehovah’s Witnesses are punished internally in so-called ‘judicial commissions’. Records of this are kept with details about the case and sometimes even confessions of perpetrators.
Steve was abused by Jehovah’s Witness
Steve is one of the victims of abuse within Jehovah’s Witnesses.
According to the lawyer of the victims, Nico Meijering, the refusal of Jehovah’s Witnesses shows the unwillingness to help the victims. “Jehovah’s Witnesses are obviously planning to frustrate the situation, and now we have to give the legal reason why they should hand over files, but actually it’s the other way around: they should indicate why they do not.” It’s about helping victims who want to go to the police with this information. ”
Meijering is sending a new letter on behalf of the victims today to Jehovah’s Witnesses in which he calls again to cooperate. Otherwise he will take legal steps to force the denomination to do so.
The administration of Jehovah’s Witnesses Netherlands today has a meeting with officials from the Ministry of Justice and Security. In the House of Representatives, Minister Dekker of Legal Protection said last week that his officials are calling for more openness in the denomination and an independent investigation into the way in which child abuse is handled.
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