Subject: cry for help from the GGZ treatment group of 20 practitioners, in response to the Parliamentary Letter (hereafter: the Parliamentary Letter) dated 30 June 2023 entitled 'Response to Investigations of Organised Sadistic Abuse and National Expertise Group on Special Vice Cases'. This is the 8e letter from this practitioner group since April 2020 on the absolute need for truly independent investigations into organised sadistic child abuse. For previous letters, see www.lichtopsrm.com under "Government and Justice".
Honourable members of the Justice and Security Committee and other members of the House of Representatives,
On 26 October next, the Standing Parliamentary Committee for Justice and Security will discuss the above parliamentary letter and both reports. Signed by the Minister of Justice and Security and by the Minister of Legal Protection, the letter combines a response to the Hendriks Committee report with a response to the WODC study on the LEBZ. Apart from its substantive shortcomings, the text of the letter is a rather diffuse one. The woolly language makes things difficult to interpret concretely. Any indignation towards the results of the surveys, but also any sense of urgency, is completely missing. We are very disappointed on six points, which we will explain below.
Based on this and on our previous letters, we call on you, the people's representatives, not to be satisfied with the delivered reports and to take action leading to an independent second opinion for both topics (organised sadistic sexual abuse and LEBZ). This call applies in particular to the people's representatives who are members of the Justice and Security Committee, where both reports will be discussed on 26 October. It is now or (as in 1994) probably decades of cover-up.
In terms of content, as indicated, we see about six points on which the room letter is seriously deficient or even incorrect:
- Fundamental criticisms of research design completely ignored
The Kamerbrief completely ignores the fundamental criticisms of the Hendriks Commission, which have been pointed out from the beginning. Among them are the facts that
- the commission was under the supervision and control of the Ministry of Justice (which aroused suspicion among survivors, who indicated they knew perpetrators there as well)
- there is distrust of person Mr Jan Hendriks a.o. because of his peculiar statements about use of child pornography in treatment of paedosexual offenders (See among others this letter from interest group Spotlight)
- part of the question from the motion (regarding. size) was left out of the study in advance (and thus survivors were not asked about it)
made that we, as a treatment group, indicated several times in advance that with high probability this investigation would not yield meaningful information about organised sadistic abuse. Members of the treatment group indicated that they could not cooperate with this research because, without a chance of a result, it would pose a great danger to survivors. All this has been stated several times and in clear terms, partly also in the Lower House. The parliamentary letter completely ignores this.
- Fundamental criticisms from other interest groups also ignored
The room letter makes no mention of the many and serious shortcomings and objections raised by other Interest Groups (Spotlight, Abused! and KTGG) that did cooperate with the enquiry have been voiced on the Hendriks Committee report.
How can a report fundamentally criticised by all interest groups in the field be considered conclusive by Ministers? While it deals with the most extreme crimes against children and other victims?
- Argos documentary undermined without any substantiation
The room letter states that the TBKK-LE Police Team would have "extensively" investigated the matters shown by Argos journalists in the documentary "Glass shards and dark rituals" (June 2020). The facts would be "(partly) demonstrably incorrect or not supported by facts". This is stated without any substantiation or concrete evidence. For example, where several victims in the Argos investigation knew (including intimate) details about the same alleged perpetrators (and matched them), how was it possible to prove that this would not be true? As many as 40 perpetrators were described by multiple victims (see 'glass shards and dark rituals', from minute 38.30). Have the victims and these 40 alleged perpetrators been heard by the judiciary? What are the ministers basing their assertions on so firmly, thereby impeding open-minded judgement?
- Suggestion, distortion and misrepresentation of contents of Hendriks report
The content of the room letter has an overall tendency to downplay the seriousness of the issue. For example, the room letter states that "the Hendriks Committee concludes that organised sadistic abuse of minors with ritualistic features is implausible based on the research findings". This is factually incorrect. In its concluding remarks, the committee merely states, "On balance, victims are the only primary source reporting this type of abuse (ritualistic, ed.) and no support for its existence is found from other sources". This makes no factual statement on the plausibility of the existence of abuse with ritual characteristics. Because the room letter suggests that ritual abuse does not exist, the seriousness of the entirety of organised sadistic sexual abuse is downplayed. On the contrary, any form of serious child abuse would deserve the utmost attention, care, follow-up investigation and, above all, detection and prosecution of perpetrators.
A little further on, it says: "however, the committee does consider the existence of organised, violent abuse of minors probably"; this while the commission leaves no room for doubt: "The Commission notes that it is undisputed that organised and violent abuse of minors exists" (page 47, Concluding Observations). We note distortion of facts, building up a completely misplaced relativity.
- Extremely vague language around hotline
Regarding the hotline recommended by the committee, the first thing we would like to say is that we as a treatment group do not support this. The risk of infiltration by the perpetrator network is very high, with which a hotline could actually provide a wealth of information for the perpetrator network. Preventing infiltration is extremely complicated and requires first of all a sounding board group of survivors with anonymous veto rights regarding the hiring policy of staff, see further our previous letter, footnote 8.
Arriving here, the room letter again excels in woolly language: who exactly is going to do what and when is completely unclear. No unambiguous person in charge is identified in the room letter who will deliver something by a certain date. The text reads, "In addition, the desirability and feasibility of organising a central entrance is being investigated. Discussions will be held in the coming months with the VNG (Association of Netherlands Municipalities) and the chain partners involved (which are they?) on how this issue can be taken up." The German example of a hotline of ritual abuse is also brought up for discussion.
Any critical comment on the LEBZ study is missing
While the report on the LEBZ raises some criticisms at the margins, it completely ignores the high-profile "Lisa" case from 2015 (the choice of the 2016-2021 research period excludes it from the outset) and the fundamental questions raised in the motion (including the question of the scientific underpinnings of the LEBZ's work). Did Ministers fail to notice these gross errors? When fundamental questions are set aside in an enquiry, a recommendation for additional research is the least we would expect.
Finally, we find it inimitable that there will be no separate debate in the Standing Parliamentary Committee on Justice & Security on the Hendriks Committee report (let alone a plenary debate in the House of Representatives). How is it possible that this weighty issue gets so little attention. Five minutes of speaking time per group in a Justice & Security committee meeting. It is a slap in the face of survivors who have been brave enough to speak before the committee. In our view, such treatment is unheard of in a democratic welfare state.
Unless you get up.
Unless brave grassroots representatives stand up and do not let this happen. All 150 grassroots MPs wanted an independent enquiry into organised sadistic abuse by 2020. Let your 'yes' be a real 'yes'. Find a way to bring about another independent enquiry, a second opinion - primarily of the enquiry into organised sadistic abuse, but also of the enquiry into the LEBZ. Because if you, with political power, do not bring out the truth, who will?
Awaiting your response, yours sincerely,
The group of 20 mental health practitioners
A.S. Terpstra-van Hijum (contact person)
Ms M. Beekman - de Haan,
Msc. behavioural scientist
Mrs. J. Boogaard-Blom,
Mrs A.F. Denekamp-van Toor
BCZ registered therapist
Ms C. Hamoen,
Mr. Dr. R. Filius,
Mr J. Konstapel,
Ms H. Mateboer-Selles
Ms. D. Mazzolari,
Mrs. T.A. van Neerbos,
(child and adolescent) psychiatrist BIG
Mr. Msc. J. Sarmiento
Mr. J. Vreugdenhil.
Mrs C. van Voornveld-de Pender,
Mrs. M. Wielart