Fire letter from GGZ-treaters and others regarding organised sadistic abuse: suspend Hendriks committee and establish independent committee!
Honourable representatives of the people,
After years of taboo and isolation of victims of (ongoing) organised sadistic abuse and their therapists, to our relief in the autumn of 2021, you, our representatives in the House of Representatives, unanimously passed a motion asking the government to 'commission an independent study into the nature and extent of organised sadistic abuse of children and to include the experiences of survivors and their therapists, so that the findings can be used to effectively track down these networks'.
Now, a year later, we, victims and therapists, find that there is great mistrust among victims towards the Hendriks Committee and that, as a result, many will not, or will not, dare to speak freely.
The main reasons for this are:
- The committee was not set up independently of the judiciary as the motion requested. On the contrary, the Minister of Justice himself appointed the chairman and the first committee member. This while it is precisely against Justice that there is a great distrust among victims, based on many bad experiences - including not being heard/helped by the judiciary, testimonies about abuse by (also high-ranking) police/judicial officers and unsuccessful legal proceedings. In many words, prior to his choice for this committee, we informed Minister Grapperhaus and the Lower House that true independence of the judiciary was essential for this committee.
- No opportunity was given to the advocacy groups to form a sounding board group of victims to screen proposed committee members. This step, too, is essential. After all, if a committee member is seen by victims (allegedly or otherwise) as an offender, or is a close friend of an offender, victims will naturally not dare to talk. We have also indicated this point several times. Michiel van Nispen, one of the movers of the motion, has also emphasised the need for this, see Nederlands Dagblad of 3 October 2020, in which he stated that it is of great importance that victims 'form a sounding board when choosing committee members, so that the people who are the subject of rumours do not end up on such a committee'.
- Despite repeated requests, most recently in the J&V committee meeting, Minister Grapperhaus and the Hendriks Committee continue to insist that the investigation report must first be read by the Ministry of Justice before it goes to the Lower House. This undermines independence to the core.
- Minister Grapperhaus, and following him the committee, has removed the investigation into the 'size' of the network from the objectives. Although Minister Grapperhaus indicated in the committee debate of 16 September that he would have this done, the committee has again stated that they will not do so. The reason given is that this cannot be scientifically investigated. However, based on, for example, overlapping statements by victims about locations, perpetrators and numbers, it is possible to estimate the size and influence of the network(s). This information is needed to develop a meaningful recommendation on investigation.
- The Hendriks Committee has already - before they have spoken to victims - entered into discussions with organisations that aim to make the testimonies of victims of organised sadistic violence implausible in advance. Such as Pandora's box and the Working group Fictitious Memories. Victims are constantly confronted with situations in which they are not believed in advance, especially in reporting cases (see e.g. the well-documented Lisa case) and see a.o. the Article of Argos about the LEBZ. Possibly because of the gruesome evil they talk about, which turns our world view upside down, and possibly because of the fact that authority figures often play a role in it. Whatever the case, a committee that chooses to prioritise interviews with such organisations over extensive hearings of victims and therapists first sets the tone that it too will not listen without prejudice. This certainly does not inspire confidence in victims.
Now that many victims do not dare to speak for these reasons, we urge you to have this committee disbanded and a new, independent committee appointed. In order to gain the trust of victims, which is necessary for carrying out this investigation, the following preconditions are needed:
- The enquiry committee is not appointed by the Ministry of Justice. Nor by the Ministry of Health, as we indicated in an earlier letter. As early as 2012, the Samson Committee demonstrated that since 1945 (!) There has been very serious sexual abuse of minors in youth care institutions and foster families'. We have no signals that make it plausible that much has changed since 2012. This also makes the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport for victims a party in which there is no confidence.
- Parties representing victims are explicitly invited to submit names of suitable people and are and will be closely involved in the selection of potential committee members.
- A sounding board group of victims, composed by the parties who signed this letter, will be given the opportunity to check in advance (before these persons are asked to serve on the committee) whether they have confidence in the proposed committee members. When selecting these victims, these advocacy parties will take into account to what extent they consider the victim to be truly detached from an abusive network (so that the victim is difficult to blackmail). If someone from this group does not have confidence in a proposed committee member, either because he/she believes he/she recognises this person from a network, or because this person has connections with people from a network or for other reasons, this person will not be asked to serve on the committee. This procedure is also followed for any new person who is asked to join the committee at a later stage.
- The composition of the committee should be such that there is sufficient knowledge of sociological research (qualitative and quantitative), of the effects of organised sadistic violence on victims, of the security of digital data and of the legal system in the Netherlands. At least one practitioner with experience of treating victims of (also) organised ritual abuse should be part of the committee.
- Commissioners sign a declaration of integrity. This implies that
- He/she does not share anything that comes to his/her attention with third parties (strict confidentiality)
- He/she will report any attempt at blackmail or manipulation from outside to the entire House of Representatives
- He/she will leave the committee if he/she is not able to withstand this blackmail
- He/she will in no way divulge research results outside the agreed channels
- The committee reports directly to the Second Chamber, without the intervention of the government or the Ministry.
- The entire original motion should be implemented. Each of the three aspects mentioned is necessary to create a way out for the victims we know who are now completely trapped. We mention:
- Gaining insight into the Nature of sadistic and satanic organised child abuse is essential: what forms of abuse and violence take place within this framework, culture/characteristics of the network, what strategies are used to impose secrecy on victims, what strategies are used to split up the personality, etc. It is mainly about finding similar patterns between testimonies of different victims and possibly finding out what goals the networks are pursuing with this.
- Gaining insight into the size of this network in the Netherlands and perhaps abroad: This is about numbers (how big are the groups that victims talk about), but also about power of the network. We actively search for overlap between victims' statements. This not only involves recognising the same faces, but also, for example, overlaps in statements concerning specific behaviour, sexual or other preferences, specific body characteristics or locations where this person was present. We also look for overlap in locations described and overlap in concrete testimonies about possible existing connections with the financial world, organised crime or social organisations.
- Advice on detection of networks and perpetrators. Where necessary, outside existing frameworks must be considered. For example, if the investigation makes it likely that very high-ranking police or judicial officials are involved, then this must be taken into account in the investigation advice and, where necessary, ideas for reliable legal proceedings must be developed outside existing frameworks. This should also take into account previous failures in the judicial process against high-ranking officials accused of paedosexual abuse (where did the judicial process fail and why were there no possibilities to refloat it?).
- The focus of the committee must be clearly on the unbiased hearing of victims, next of kin and therapists as described under point 7. In doing so, the Committee actively searches for factual counter-evidence, such as whether it can be established that witnesses who make overlapping statements may have agreed this with each other. But the Committee does not lose itself in side-paths such as the discussion about recovered memories or the existence or otherwise of dissociative identity disorder. Nor does it allow itself to be influenced in advance by organisations or persons who doubt the existence of organised sadistic or ritual abuse, dissociative identity disorder (which affects some of the victims) or the reliability of witnesses to such abuse. After all, this has happened so many times to the victims (not being believed beforehand) and prevents them from speaking freely. Such organisations and persons may, if the committee deems it necessary, at most be briefly discussed after the hearing of the victims has been completed. This concerns, for example, Pandora's box and the fictitious memories working group. But also the LEBZ, against whom an independent investigation would be launched, precisely because they have been suspected of bias in legal processes.
- Reports must be fully anonymised. The request for underlying reports from the investigation committee, by whichever party, will be rejected, unless there is explicit permission from the victim(s). In that case, only that part of the information concerning the victim(s) in question may be handed over.
A group of 20 mental health practitioners and the Lisa Foundation against organised child abuse
Mrs A.S. Terpstra-van Hijum (contact)
...and 19 other GZ-treatment professionals
Mr. M.L. van Muiswinkel, Managing Director
Lisa Foundation, against organised child abuse