Victim Support Netherlands will soon have a special reporting point for victims of sexual abuse within the Jehovah's Witnesses community. This has been decided because the community itself refuses to set up such a reporting point, Minister Sander Dekker (Legal Protection) wrote in a letter to the Lower House on Thursday.
The board of the religious community was repeatedly called in vain to establish a reporting point. According to the Ministry of Justice and Security, Dekker is "forced" to come up with a reporting point himself.
The appeal to the board followed an investigation by the Scientific Research and Documentation Center (WODC) into sexual abuse within the community. According to the report at the beginning of this year, it is likely that reporting the crime is complicated by the closed nature of the community.
"I expect every community or organization to do everything to combat sexual abuse and to help and support victims," said the minister. "That does not happen with the Jehovah's Witnesses and I find that extremely bad." He is therefore looking at the possibility of introducing a reporting obligation.
Dekker also reports on Thursday that the GGD and the police are actively informed of the investigation results. In this way he hopes that any signs of sexual abuse within the closed community can be better recognized. In addition, the Reclaimed Voices Foundation receives financial support to help victims.
In his letter, the minister calls on victims to report to the police again. Following a similar appeal in January, the Public Prosecution Service (OM) dealt with thirteen cases involving current or former members of the Jehovah's Witnesses. That has led to two convictions so far, he says.
See also: The main points of the Jehovah's Witnesses abuse report