Trouw de Verdieping – 3rd July 2018
Chamber demands investigation into abuse of Jehovah’s Witnesses
There must be an investigation into abuse with the Jehovah’s Witnesses, the House of Representatives demands.
If the Jehovah’s Witnesses themselves do not want to investigate sexual abuse, then the government must do so. All parties of the House of Representatives agreed today with a foretell from SP’er Jasper van Dijk. In the adopted motion they request the Cabinet to take matters into their own hands.
An urgent request from Minister Sander Dekker for legal protection to instigate an investigation rejected the administration of the Jehovah’s Witnesses earlier. According to them, it would be a few cases and their own internal jurisdiction would adequately protect children.
Meanwhile, the Foundation for victims Reclaimed Voices received about 300 reports of abuse. In view of this large number of reports and the closed culture of the religious organization, the House still wants an investigation into the stories of victims and a possible pattern in it.
The Chamber is afraid, according to the motion, that the closed culture at the Jehovah’s Witnesses ensures that victims do not file a report. They also want the government to make an analysis of previous investigations into abuse by the Jehovah’s Witnesses.
The conclusion of a special Australian investigation committee was two years ago that children are insufficiently protected by the witnesses and that the organization does not deal adequately with accusations. The same was evident from the research that this paper carried out last year into abuse by the organization.
Victim Frank Huiting also made his story about the abuse by an older boy in his community. He is happy with the adopted motion. “Politics indirectly gives recognition to victims.”
He hopes that this outcome is a signal for the government of the Jehovah’s Witnesses in the Netherlands, through whom he does not feel supported. “I hope that they realize that they can no longer put their heads in the sand and say that it is only a few cases, and I hope that this makes you think.”
The motion is an important next step, says Huiting. Even if this does not mean that the independent research is also coming. Both the Roman Catholic Church and the sports federations decided to start an investigation into abuse after a request from the Cabinet itself.
It would therefore be exceptional if the Cabinet decides to carry out an investigation itself. Earlier, Minister Dekker clearly put the ball down with the witnesses themselves. Now that they refuse and the House unanimously demands an investigation, the question is whether he can ignore it.
Faithfulness spent a long time investigating abuse with Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Read the story of Frank Huiting here, who still did his story under the pseudonym ‘Mark’. “It is a paradise for pedophiles here.”
All stories that Trouw wrote about Jehovah’s Witnesses can be found in our file
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