Timeline and state of play
Last update 18 October 2021
In the autumn of 2020, the entire Lower House adopted two motions. The first motion called for an independent investigation into organised sadistic abuse of children. The second motion asked for an independent investigation into the functioning of the National Expertise Group on Special Cases (LEBZ). The Ministry of Justice was in no hurry to carry out either investigation. Apparently, investigating the most serious crimes against our children and the possible undermining of their legal process by an organ of our national police, the LEBZ, is not a priority for the Ministry of Justice. On 25 March this year, after a long diversions, outgoing Minister Grapperhaus set up a committee to implement the first motion. Not an independent committee, however, as had been requested from all sides. A committee whose chairman and first member was appointed directly by the top of the Justice Department. Moreover, these two people have been working together for years, as can be seen from their joint publications, and one of them is a direct colleague of Peter van Koppen, the emeritus professor who vehemently opposes any investigation of this abuse in the media on the basis of lies and pseudo-scientific, empty arguments. Also for the implementation of the second motion, the one about the functioning of the LEBZ, an independent commission was not chosen. More on the current state of affairs of both commissions later in this article.
To refresh the collective memory, here is a timeline of the state of play of both investigations and what preceded them. The article concludes with an appeal to you as reader to remind our representatives of their responsibility in this extremely important matter. On behalf of the victims of this extremely sadistic abuse, for our children and for our rule of law.
In the addendum, a call to police officers, vice investigators and public prosecutors, pending the investigation into the LEBZ, to act within their own unit and on the basis of their own conclusions when handling reports with ritualistic characteristics and not to allow themselves to be guided by the LEBZ.
1994 - Report of the Working Group on Ritual Abuse
In 1994, the Working Group on Ritual Abuse, set up by the government, came up with a report. The reason for setting up this working group is described, among other things, as follows (p.5): 'In 1992, the Youth Assistance Inspectorate (lJHV) of the Ministries of WVC and Justice received reports from institutions for youth assistance with regard to possible ritual abuse in a number of children. Up to August 1992 there were approximately 11 cases reported in the provinces of Noord-Holland and Utrecht. (...) The Ministry of Justice checked with two police forces and the Central Criminal Information Department to see what was known. The preliminary conclusion was that a number of police forces were aware of signs of ritual abuse, but that no hard evidence had ever been found..'
Its summarized conclusion is as follows (p. 26):
Recently both children and adults have told of ritual abuse they have suffered. They tell of horrific rituals which, if the stories are true, constitute a particularly extreme form of sexual violence against children. The victims testify of behaviour that can only be described as pure sadism in its most extreme form. At the same time, both in the Netherlands and abroad, there is no evidence for the existence of ritual abuse other than the statements of the alleged victims. This does not alter the fact that the existence of all separate elements of the stories of ritual abuse is known from police investigations. However, their combination in the form of ritual abuse, as reported in the stories, has never been adequately verified. However, if one is to assume the extent and character of ritual abuse as it should be determined on the basis of the stories given above and otherwise collected by the study group, then it is virtually impossible that no forensic evidence has been or will be found. In all reasonableness and probability, at least some (technical) traces should have come to light. Now that this is not the case, the study group considers the chance that the stories about ritual abuse are true 'in their entirety' to be small.
But the working group says more. It calls for further investigation and for the establishment of a more permanent council. Both have never come to pass:
The study group is of the opinion that, given the seriousness, the felt problems and the pressure that goes with it (care workers suspect, as a result of which, that clients are the victim of serious, perverse, sexual sadism, which causes serious psychological damage to clients, for whom the provisions in the regular care services seem not to be well adapted), there is reason to establish a council. This is especially important to closely follow the developments (including literature and research), especially in practice. The work of the Working Group should be continued for a certain period of time, as it were, so that it is possible to make the necessary connections between the stories of victims and the actual research carried out by confidential doctors, the Child Care and Protection Board and the police and judicial authorities.
Legal psychologist Peter van Koppen, at the time a member of the Workgroup, a member of the LEBZ from 1999-2005 and, as it seems, until today a regular media mouthpiece of the LEBZ, states that 'science says that ritual abuse does not exist' (Nederlands Dagblad, October 2, 2020). A conclusion that is not correct, if only because of the above conclusion of the Workgroup of which he was a member. A conclusion that 'science' can never draw either. How can you ever scientifically establish that a sociological phenomenon does not exist? A conclusion, moreover, that is not shared at all by many other scientists and experts.
27 June 2020 - Argos broadcast: 'Shards of glass and dark rituals'.
Argos, an investigative programme published by the VPRO, broadcasts a documentary about their research into organised sexual violence. Huub Jaspers, who conducted this research alongside Sanne Terlingen, says: 'We collected extensive stories from two hundred people who reported being victims of organised sexual violence. One hundred and forty of them tell about ritual abuse. We conducted intensive interviews with a number of them and with people from their environment. We found overlap in the statements and were able to verify a number of details.' This included overlap in designated perpetrators, both known faces and faces not known from the media.
The programme shows how a gynaecologist removes shards of glass from the vagina of a victim. You can also hear how a barn in the bulb region, identified by several victims as one of the locations where abuse took place, goes up in flames at a remarkable moment.
September 4, 2020 - First letter Concerned practitioners to the Lower House
We, a group of eight mental health practitioners write a letter to the Dutch Parliament in which we call upon our representatives not to settle for the evasive answers of Minister Grapperhaus to questions asked by members of Parliament regarding ritual abuse. We argue that the LEBZ is biased, which is why reports do not get through, and we call upon the members of parliament to give their 'to use its influence to thoroughly revise the LEBZ or to close it down and to start new research into the occurrence of ritual abuse within organized sadistic (pedosexual) networks.'
October 5, 2020 - motion investigation into organised sexual sadistic abuse of children and motion independent investigation into the functioning of the National Expertise Bureau on Special Cases (LEBZ).
As a result of the broadcast of Argos, among other things Niels van den Berge (GL) of the Dutch Lower House, together with Michiel van Nispen (SP) and Attje Kuiken (PvdA) tabled two motions. In the first motion the government is asked 'to commission an independent investigation into the nature and extent of organised sadistic abuse of children and to include the experiences of survivors of ritual abuse and their therapists so that the findings can be used in the effective tracing of these networks', more than 25 years after the aforementioned investigation. The second motion asks the government 'to commission an independent investigation into the scientific basis and vision, the role and definition of tasks, the official and unofficial objectives of the LEBZ, its working methods and the results of recent years. The motion states, among other things, 'that discussion has arisen about the scientific underpinning and vision, one-sided or otherwise, of the LEBZ, about the explicit aim of the LEBZ to prevent unjustified accusations and about the effectiveness of the LEBZ in dealing with serious abuse of children'.
October 12, 2020 - Second letter handlers to the Lower House about the LEBZ
Fifteen GGZ practitioners write a letter to the Dutch Lower House, urging them to support the motions submitted on October 5. In the letter, they also discuss the role of the LEBZ. We explain how the LEBZ, by using two rigid mantras, maintains division among scientists and thus undermines the treatment of severely traumatised people. We write that members and former members of the LEBZ strongly give the impression that they are an action group that propagates a certain vision on complex psychotraumas and dissociative disorders. We refer to the fact that the LEBZ has, at its own initiative, become involved in the development of the care standard for the treatment of clients with CIS. In summary, we write the following: 'Scientists who study how healthy cells derive into cancer cells do not have the final say in establishing protocols around cancer treatment. Those are the researchers of the treatments and the experienced oncologists at the bedside. Nor should scientists who do memory research, or are involved in other areas of psychology (read the majority of colleagues at the LEBZ), have the deciding role in the treatment of clients suffering from DIS. Here, researchers of treatment models and practitioners treating clients with DIS should set the direction.' .
October 13, 2020 - motion national investigation into organised sexual sadistic abuse of children adopted
November 2, 2020 - Minister Grapperhaus promises research design before Christmas break
In the Answering oral questions Victims Memorandum 28 October (p.5) Minister Grapperhaus writes the following:
The GreenLeft Group is asking about the progress of the investigation into ritual abuse.
In line with the motion previously submitted on this subject by Member Van den Berge (GroenLinks), I have since asked the Research and Documentation Centre (WODC) to commission an independent study into the nature and extent of organised sadistic abuse of children. The study will include the experiences of victims of ritual abuse and their therapists, so that the results can be used to effectively track down these possible networks. Before the Christmas recess I will send a letter to your House about the structure of this study. Minister Grapperhaus has not kept this promise.
November 5, 2020 - Minister Grapperhaus promises to talk to German National Commissioner against Child Abuse Johannes-Wilhelm Rörig and promises a digital working visit to the LEBZ
In the Answering Parliamentary Questions on Sexually Transgressive Behavior, November 5, 2020 (p.33) writes Minister Grapperhaus in response to written questions submitted on 7 October:
The members of the Green Left, CDA, SP, SGP, PvdA and CU groups ask whether an independent and current investigation into ritual abuse can take place and whether the German Commissioner against Child Abuse, Mr Röring, should not be interviewed in response to reports from Germany of much higher numbers of reports. The reason for this is the much lower number of suspects known to the police (and the National Expertise Group on Special Cases within it) than Argos was able to find out for its broadcast. In this investigation, the SP wants to gain more insight into the scope and nature of organized abuse in the country and also wants a second independent investigation into the role and interpretation of tasks of the LEBZ. The members of the VVD, GL, and SP groups asked questions about the working methods and scientific reliability of the National Expertise Group on Special Cases (LEBZ). In practice, reports are often regarded as false/unprovable. There is the impression that investigations are 'truncated'. In this context, the SP also asks about the disappearance of a sentence on the LEBZ website about the objective. GL asks that the role, conception of tasks and scientific basis of the LEBZ be reconsidered, and whether the knowledge of the survivor and the therapist can be involved in this. (...) I am prepared to discuss this with my German counterpart in response to questions from GL, CDA, SP, PvdA and CU. I will provide your House with a coherent response before the Christmas recess. In the meantime, further to a motion by Van den Berge, I will also ask the Research and Documentation Centre (WODC) to commission independent research into the nature and extent of organised sadistic abuse of children and to include the experiences of victims of ritual abuse and their therapists so that the findings can be used to effectively track down these possible networks. In addition, I shall be making a digital working visit to the LEBZ in the near future. In response to the questions by VVD, GL, and SP, I would like to report that I have asked the Chief of Police to review the LEBZ's working method, profession, and working on the basis of new scientific insights and composition. Finally, it is true - and this is in response to the question posed by the SGP - that a sentence on the LEBZ website was recently amended. The role, tasks and responsibilities of the LEBZ have not changed.
About the promise of Minister Grapperhaus to enter into a dialogue with German National Commissioner against Child Abuse Johannes-Wilhelm Rörig I have not heard or read anything about it. According to Minister Grapperhaus' public agenda, the digital working visit to the LEBZ appears to have taken place, but I have been unable to find any feedback on this in the media or in Parliamentary documents, even though the House had been promised a 'coherent response' before the Christmas recess.
November 30, 2020 - Third letter practitioners to the Lower House about the WODC
When it turns out that Minister Grapperhaus has given the first investigation to the Scientific Research and Documentation Centre (WODC), which falls under the Ministry of Justice, we as a group of 19 practitioners write a letter to the Dutch Parliament. We indicate that we have no confidence in the independence of the research if it is conducted right under the nose of the Ministry of Justice. We call for this research to be completely separated from the Ministry of Justice:
'In summary, if maximum effort is not put into a committee that has broad confidence of the victims this investigation is a waste of time, money and manpower. Complete independence of the judiciary/police on the one hand and trust on the other are the key words. This is what makes or breaks the whole investigation.
December 1, 2020 - motion to independent investigation into the LEBZ adopted
February 10, 2021 - In a letter The Standing Parliamentary Committee on Transport, Public Works and Water Management requests Minister Dekker (Legal Protection) to provide information on the implementation of both motions:
'Dear Mr. Dekker, In the procedural meeting of the standing committee for Justice and Security of 10 February 2021, the committee decided to request you to inform the Lower House about the planning and execution of the motion by member Van Nispen et al. (Parliamentary paper 35349, no. 16) about an investigation into the LEBZ. The Committee also requests that you inform the House once again about the implementation of the motion by member Van den Berge et al. about an investigation into the organised sadistic abuse of children (Lower House document 35349, no. 15), including details of the investigation's design and staffing. I hereby submit to you the Committee's request.'
24 February 2021 - WODC returns research assignment
The Knowledge centre on Transgenerational Violence had offered her help to the WODC in a letter. On 24 February the WODC announced in a few lines of reply that they would not carry out the research into organized sadistic abuse of children. The reason: 'The WODC has investigated the possibilities for carrying out such an investigation and has come to the conclusion that the investigation cannot be done in a methodologically responsible way and that the results will therefore be of insufficient scientific quality. Journalists Sanne Terlingen (Argos, VPRO) and Hans-Lukas Zuurman (ND) wrote an article about it. What the article does not mention is that correspondence between the Research Centre and the WODC shows that the WODC returned the research as early as November 2020, but that the Lower House was not informed about this. Therefore, the research was halted for 3 months. And it took the Research and Documentation Centre another 3 months after their decision to write a note to the Knowledge Centre informing them that they will not be conducting the research.
It is also interesting to see how scientists can differ diametrically: Mr. Peter van Koppen said earlier that it has been scientifically proven that ritual abuse does not exist. The scientists of the WODC are of the opinion that the phenomenon cannot be studied at all. Whoever still thought that science is neutral and value-free and beyond any doubt should scratch their head here.
March 4, 2021 - Fourth letter therapists in response to WODC refusal: opportunity for truly independent research
Now that the Research and Documentation Centre has thrown in the towel, the group of researchers sends another letter to the Lower House. Among other things we write: 'Because of the great importance of truly independent research into organized pedosexual violence, we urgently request that this research not be carried out by the Ministry of Justice, nor, for good reasons, by the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport. But to designate, outside the usual frameworks, another Ministry in this exceptional case. In our opinion this will considerably increase the chance of a truly independent investigation. We also make six other important suggestions about how an independent investigation can be achieved. '
21 March 2021 - State of investigations: stagnation and confusion
Delaying and sowing confusion seem to be the two basic strategies to let both studies die a premature death. In the same letter from the WODC, February 24th, to the Knowledge Centre on Transgenerational Violence, the director of the WODC writes the following about 'what now? At the end of the summer, there will be a more general report about the possibility of estimating the extent of specific forms of child abuse. (...)[i] This decision has been discussed with policy officers of the Directorate-General for Police and Security Regions.'
It is suggested here that the investigation into organised sadistic child abuse will be filed away under another investigation, which in this way can certainly not achieve anything concerning the original question of the motion.
Following this, the Expertise Centre for Transgenerational Violence received an e-mail (to be viewed) from Mr. Michiel Bravo, the Head of Strategy, Knowledge, Innovation and Research of the Directorate-General for Police and Security Regions. On February 25, he wrote: "The report from the WODC about the impossibility of researching the nature and extent of organized, sadistic abuse of children has forced the Directorate-General for Police and Security Regions to look for alternatives so that the Minister for Justice and Security can comply with the relevant motion. Some time is needed, he indicates. One month.
Sanne Terlingen, investigative journalist for Argos, writes in the previously mentioned ArticleA spokesperson for the Ministry of Justice and Security says that the issue is sensitive because the Minister must first inform the Lower House. He cannot yet say when the letter from the Lower House will be sent. But he does emphasize that the motion will be carried out and that an investigation will take place. The big question is: what is sensitive here, and to whom?
In response to the Knowledge Centre's request for clarification, the WODC then wrote the following: "This year an investigation will be carried out into the possibilities of estimating the extent of specific forms of child abuse. This is in line with the recent motion by Van den Berge, Van Nispen, and Kuiken, and also with previously formulated motions. In the recent past, several parliamentary questions have been asked about the extent of child abuse that is (in one way or another) related to, for example, religion; e.g. the question about the extent of exorcisms of devils by the members Kuiken, Bergkamp and Van Nispen (TK 2020Z05792); the question about the extent of exposure of young people to conversion therapy that aims to "cure" homosexuality by the member Bergkamp et al. (28345, no. 219). We hope in this way to find or develop multiple research methods that can contribute to increasing our knowledge in the field of child abuse in all its horrific forms. Because better knowledge is a prerequisite for fighting the abuse."
In this reaction, the WODC cites 6 sources, apparently to support their earlier decision. Two of them refer to investigations into domestic violence, another one to criminality, a fourth one to sexual abuse among Jehovah's witnesses, and the fifth is the report on Ritual Abuse from 1994. In addition to this now well-known report - which does not show that research is not possible - only one of these sources deals with research into ritual abuse. It is a research by Johanna Schröder, Pia Beehrendt, Susanna Nick and Peer Bricken in Psychiat Prax 2020 (47): 'Was erschwert die Aufdeckung organisierter und ritueller Gewaltsstrukturen?'. This article shows that it is certainly possible - with certain limitations - to conduct research as the motion requests. A source that thus explicitly contradicts the conclusion of the WODC.
In summary and conclusion, it is clear that the Ministry of J&V is struggling immensely with the investigation into organized sadistic abuse that has been enforced by the Chamber. Foggy delaying tactics and confusing communication, as represented above by quotes, set the tone. There is certainly no question of giving priority to this extremely important investigation. Delay is always advantageous, the attention of the media and the public tends to wane quickly when something takes a long time. Moreover, the strategy seems to be to place the research as a subsection of a larger study or to divert the theme of the research to completely different or only indirectly related themes. In either case, it will certainly not answer the question posed by the motion. As the Treatment Group argued in its latest letter to the members of the House of Representatives, it appears that in our country for decades, reports involving pedosexual crimes have been systematically covered up. Are there perhaps persons involved in the implementation of these motions who have an interest in ensuring that this investigation, too, is neutralised at all costs?
There is still no sign of the independent investigation into the LEBZ. For the same reasons, persistent journalists and other observers will be needed to ensure that something comes of this. And the word 'independent' is also crucial in this investigation.
March 25, 2021 - Minister Grapperhaus sets up an investigation committee
In a letter from his office, Minister Grapperhaus announced that he will set up his own committee following the rejection of the investigation by the Research and Documentation Centre (WODC). The assignment is
Gather available information on the mentioned phenomenon of organized sadistic abuse of minors by using as many sources as possible (including victims, therapists, scientific sources and experts in this specific field). Based on the findings, provide an advice to the investigation. In addition, based on the findings, provide advice on the establishment of a reporting centre.
Prof. Jan Hendriks and Ms Anne-Marie Slotboom have already been elected as chairpersons and committee members.
However, the motion asked for the following:
‘(...) Calls on 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 of ritual abuse and their therapists so that the findings can be used to effectively track down these networks.‘
The order differs from the request in the motion in 3 important respects:
- In the motion asked for an independent investigation. This step does not deserve the predicate 'independent'. After all, the first two commission members were directly chosen by the top of the justice department, without any opportunity for victims to have their say.
- Contrary to the motion, the terms of reference say nothing about investigating the extent of organised sadistic abuse. This is obviously an essential part. If the investigation shows that victims from various regions mention the same names and places, describe the same persons and methods, something can be concluded about the possible extent.
- Advice for the investigation', as the assignment states, is not the same as involving the results in an 'effective investigation of networks' as the motion requests. It is precisely this tracking down of networks that is essential to get to the root of this abominable evil.
With the choice to appoint the chairperson and the first committee member herself, the Minister also ignores the explicit request of the Knowledge Centre on Transgenerational Violence and the repeated request of the group of mental health care professionals to outsource the establishment of the committee entirely and to check with the victims whether they dare to talk in the proposed composition of the committee. This is very well possible by asking the journalists of Argos to present the names of the committee members to the group of victims they have contact with. With the question whether they would dare to talk to a committee of this composition. This investigation stands or falls with the confidence that victims have in the real independence and unbiasedness of the Commissioners. If not enough victims dare to talk - also those who know a lot about the involvement of highranking people - this investigation will not provide the clarity that is desperately needed. In addition, the Minister ignores the repeated offer of the KTGG and the group of practitioners to assist in the setting up of the Committee from the start, also with the aim of building the confidence of victims towards the Committee from the start.
In this light, it is also striking and unwise that Minister Grapperhaus - who knows how essential the independence of this research is - has chosen precisely these two people, Mr. Hendriks and Ms. Slotboom. Both regularly publish jointly and are therefore not independent of each other. But what helps even less to win the trust of victims is that one of them is a colleague of Mr. van Koppen, emeritus professor at the VU University Amsterdam. Both belong to the 'Faculty of Law, criminology'. The colleague of Ms. Slotboom, Mr. Van Koppen, is vehemently opposed in the media to the investigation of organized sadistic child abuse. He does this on the basis of lies and pseudo-scientific, empty arguments, as also yesterday in a Article that appeared in 5 regional newspapers. After describing a (one-time?) encounter with one woman (in scientific terms: a study with n = 1) who tells that she has a dissociative identity disorder, the article continues:
'Van Koppen points out that it cannot be true that the personalities know nothing about each other. "The claim of believers is that traumatic experiences are repressed in this way. Funnily enough, this then only occurs with sexual abuse and not with other traumas. And apparently also only in women." Incidentally, switching personalities is in itself perfectly commonplace and normal, Van Koppen explains. "I am a scientist now. With my wife I am a husband. When the grandchildren arrive, I am a grandfather.'
Van Koppen takes the term 'switching personalities' and gives it a totally different meaning than the meaning it has in working with someone who actually has a dissociative identity disorder. I assume that Van Koppen still remembers very well what he did as a scientist when he is sitting at the table with his wife in the evening. This certainly does not apply to people with DIS when they switch to another personality part. You can read about this elsewhere on this website in the articles about Esther's treatment. Van Koppen has a legal background and therefore has no experience in treating clients, let alone treating clients with a dissociative identity disorder. To make such sweeping statements based on the titles of professor and doctor is very unscientific. Statements that unfortunately are taken seriously by many people because of those titles. Van Koppen's assertion that DID only occurs in women is also not true. This is proven by the care standard for dissociative identity disorders and also by my own experience.
The article continues with the statement that van Koppen
' emphasizes that the theory of repressed or recovered memories was a 'ready subject' in science. "The QAnon part of Argos is creating a revival. That's just scary."'
This is a flat-out lie. Anyone can check on the internet how the internationally used 'handbook' among psychiatrists and psychologists, the DSM-V, has for a long time been listing dissociative identity disorder, with as one of the most important criteria 'recurrent gaps in the recollection of everyday events, important personal information and/or psychotraumatic events that are inconsistent with ordinary forgetfulness'. See also the aforementioned Dutch care standard. Van Koppen opposes this to an army of psychiatrists, psychologists and psychotherapists who have encountered this differently in their treatment rooms for decades and many of whom also publish about it. QAnon has nothing to do with this.
It is very serious that Van Koppen uses his titles to put seriously abused clients with DID and their therapists in a bad light and presents the mainstream-vision on DID - namely that it only arises as a result of severe early childhood trauma - as if QAnon revives this vision. It is serious that he is influencing public opinion and undermining truly independent research into organised sadistic child abuse with this kind of obvious lie.
Together with others, most of whom are (ex) members of the LEBZ - body of the police - Van Koppen also made a successful attempt to promote the publication of the recently published standard of care for DIS. For a clear overview of this state of affairs, see the clear Article of Argos. The standard of care is based on the idea, widely accepted by therapists internationally, that dissociative identity disorder is caused by early childhood trauma. Because of this 'coup', another explanatory model was included in the care standard, the sociocognitive explanatory model. This concealing term stands for the viewpoint, clearly formulated by Van Koppen, that victims make up the traumas or that therapists or the media talk them into doing so.
Against this background we would like to urge both appointed committee members to take the initiative as a first act of transparency to request Argos to screen their own names by victims. And to make the choice in advance - in the interest of justice and truth in this extremely important matter - to give back their membership in case there is too little support among victims for their participation in the committee. In addition we want to call upon them to commit to maximum transparency and security of information, to which the group of mental health care practitioners in its fourth letter has made a number of suggestions.
Other striking points in the letter from Minister Grapperhaus -is there an agenda in this strange state of affairs?
Prior to the research assignment, Minister Grapperhaus' letter contains a number of curious remarks. First, these:
I have submitted the request for an independent investigation to the Research and Documentation Centre (WODC). The WODC has expressed its doubts about the scientific content of the method proposed in the motion. Therefore the WODC will not have research carried out in this way.
The question is what Mr. Grapperhaus means by 'the scientific content of the method proposed in the motion'. The motion does not propose a method at all, but only asks for an investigation. After a number of factual observations, the motion asks the government to
'commission an independent study into the nature and extent of organised sadistic abuse of children and include the experiences of survivors of ritual abuse and their therapists so that the findings can be used to effectively track down these networks'.
It is a mystery how the WODC can see a scientific method in this. A new example of foggy WODC-communication, which sounds impressive but lacks substance. If that would be true, a lot of studies on sociological phenomena could be thrown out. Including a series of publications by the WODC. Moreover, as argued earlier in this article, the WODC is quite alone in its conclusion that organized sadistic child abuse cannot be investigated scientifically.
A second striking point is that the research that was already mentioned in the WODC's letter of rejection to the KTGG is once again put on the table. Minister Grapperhaus continues the previous sentence with
'However, the WODC will conduct (or have conducted) a general study into new methods and techniques for estimating the extent of hidden phenomena such as this. The research will be launched in early 2021 and is expected to be completed after the summer of 2021.'
Where the WODC was in no hurry whatsoever to reject the investigation into organised sadistic child abuse (4 months for a rejection in 1 line), this investigation is apparently in a blazing hurry. It will be completed after the summer of 2021. Surely the results of this research will not be used by the WODC and the Ministry of Justice to put a spanner in the works of the research into organized sadistic child abuse?
April 12, 2021 - Fifth letter practitioners: This appointed commission organized sadistic abuse can NOT achieve its goal
In this letter we express our surprise that Minister Grapperhaus has appointed the first committee members without any consultation with practitioners or client organisations, despite repeated offers from all sides. There is clearly no question of an independent committee. We explain that this commission cannot have the confidence of victims and therapists and will therefore certainly not achieve its goal - to uncover the truth about abuse networks. We therefore 'urge the members of parliament - if necessary by means of a new motion - to relieve the current commission members of their task and to put together an independent commission within the preconditions mentioned in previous letters, which enjoys broad confidence of victims and practitioners. In order to achieve this, close cooperation with the Knowledge Centre on Transgenerational Violence, patient association Kaleidoscope and the undersigned group of mental health care workers is already necessary when choosing the very first committee members'.
May 3, 2021 - First steps research committee Hendriks very disturbing
In the meantime, the inquiry committee (chairman Jan Hendriks and member Annemarie Slotboom) has taken its first steps. They indicate that they are still at the beginning and that they are approaching the matter blankly, but they have already taken some very worrying steps. I have heard from several sources that the committee states the following:
- ...that they have told the Minister that they will not be investigating the extent of organised child abuse
- ...that she doesn't do truth-telling. "That's a never-ending discussion. 'We are here to understand the case from all sides'.
- ...all they can do is give advice to the police on how to improve detection.
- ...that it is not accepting new members for the time being. It remains to be seen whether that is necessary
- ...that they have one day a week available for the study.
We note the following: The WODC indicated that this research could not be carried out scientifically, a process that was delayed by 4 months. The Hendriks Committee throws more than two-thirds of the question of the motion overboard at the start. The motion called for research into "1. the nature and 2. the extent of organized sadistic abuse of minors, and 3. the use of this information in an effective tracing of the networks.
About the first, the nature of the organized sadistic abuse, the committee already concludes that finding the truth is a 'never-ending discussion'. They have not yet studied any literature - there have been many studies abroad on this, see elsewhere on the website - and have not yet spoken to any victims, but they do know the outcome. About the second, the extent of the abuse, they told the minister that they will not investigate this. Apparently the minister allows the committee to decide on this, against the unanimously adopted motion of the House of Representatives. The third thing, advising how detection can be improved, is what the Committee does want to do. But this is no longer about tracing networks, as the motion requests, since the Committee is not concerned with the size of networks.
Thus, the outcome of the investigation can, at best, be a repetition of moves. At the end of it, the committee will not know whether the testimonies of survivors are credible, nor will it have any idea whether there is a network or networks involved. But it will argue that victims should go to the police first and foremost, and it will probably give advice on how interrogation methods can be changed. The fact that all cases of pedosexual abuse by high-ranking people have gone wrong so far and that there are endless cases of abuse on the shelf, is conveniently left out of consideration.
Victims say that they are punished in the network if they report a crime. There is a good chance that the committee's conclusions will push them back into the same trap. Now with the additional underlay - to reassure the public - that a good investigation has been carried out, but that there is really no way out. So that reporting the matter is the only way forward.
In short, better no research than this 'research'. Parliamentarians, it is your turn again! Do not allow that with a motion and an 'investigation' in your hand, perpetrators of horrible pedosexual abuse even more space in our country!
May 11, 2021 - Investigation into LEBZ not independent!
This month Argos gave an excellent kick-off for the much needed independent investigation into the LEBZ. In their broadcast 'Expert group police orchestrated media reports 'recovered memories' by Griet op de BeeckThey clearly show how the LEBZ, behind the scenes, discredited a victim of sexual violence with unsubstantiated 'scientific' language.
However, in a letter In a letter to the Dutch Parliament, outgoing Minister Grapperhaus announced that the independent investigation into the 'scientific foundation and vision, role and interpretation of tasks, the unofficial objectives of the LEZ, the working methods and the results of recent years' had been entrusted to the Research and Documentation Centre (WODC). The WODC, which played an extremely dubious role in the investigation into organized sadistic abuse. The WODC, of which it has been established before - see the third letter of the group of practitioners - that they allowed investigations by the Ministry of Justice to be bent in the direction they wanted.
Once again, therefore, this is not an independent investigation, but an investigation of a police body by an organisation that is closely linked to the judiciary. And that while there are good reasons to take very serious account of the possibility that high-ranking people in, for example, the Justice Department have an interest in the corrupt working methods of the LEBZ. An investigation in which real independence from the judiciary is therefore of the utmost urgency. Once again, the cry for justice is not heard!
11 September 2021 - state of investigation into organised sadistic child abuse
Investigation into organised sadistic child abuse
Meanwhile, a third member, Trudy Mooren, has joined the committee, in addition to Mr Hendriks and Ms Slotboom. Again not in consultation with parties representing victims.
Mr. Hendriks confirms in this interview that the nature and extent of sadistic child abuse will not be investigated and that the truth will not be established either. This means that the investigation will not come close to what the investigation of Argos brought to light: striking overlap in witness statements. Such as several witnesses who pointed out the same perpetrators (unknowns in (social) media) and knew how to describe in detail the perverse sexual preferences of these perpetrators. The interview with Mr. Hendriks confirms the conclusions we drew above on 3 May: there is no insight whatsoever into the existence of networks or the involvement of high-ranking figures. Victims are once again pushed into the trap of reporting the crime, which has no chance of success as long as there is no clarification on these two points and therefore no measures are taken.
The e-mail exchange we had with outgoing Minister Grapperhaus in recent months shows how he skirts around the key question - why was real independence not chosen? - and refuses to answer it.
Research on the LEBZ
It took the outgoing Minister Grapperhaus six months (!) to pass the assignment on to the WODC. I understand that they are working on a memorandum, on the basis of which universities and research bureaus can tender for it. As extensively argued in our third letter, the WODC absolutely cannot be seen as independent from Justice. Not even if they in turn pass on the assignment. He who pays the piper calls the tune', as the saying goes. Or also 'which butcher can judge his own meat?
16 September 2021 - Justice and Security Committee debate on child abuse and sexual violence
In this debate Gideon van Meijeren, Michiel van Nispen and Don Ceder spoke on the Hendriks Committee.
Mr. van Nispen (see video on 2.08) and Mr. Ceder asked why research into the size of a possible network was omitted from the study, which was requested in the motion. Mr. Grapperhaus promises in his answer on the spot that research into the size of the network will be added to the motion (from 2.12) 'I'm just saying, the motion will be executed as it was'. Mr. Van Meijeren emphasises that the Hendriks Committee is in no way an independent committee, because it was appointed by the Ministry of Justice, while it is precisely officials of the Ministry of Justice who are identified by victims as perpetrators. Mr. Van Meijeren indicates that he will submit a new motion to this effect. Mr Grapperhaus says 'if you have serious accusations, you have to substantiate them, in whatever forum. Whether that is the parliament or somewhere on a soapbox in the park. (from 2.05) (...) Call a spade a spade and otherwise shut up'. However, Mr Grapperhaus also knows that a soapbox in the park is not an option, because this will lead to arrest on libel charges. Legal proceedings seem to be torpedoed time and again. The only possibility left to make a path to justice and help for victims is a thorough investigation. But if it is not independent of the Justice Department, that too is hopeless from the outset because victims will not dare to talk, and rightly so.
13 October 2021 - new steps Hendriks Committee since the committee debate
The Hendriks Committee has now taken the following new steps:
- Appointment of secretarial support directly from the Ministry of Justice (Daniëlle Lako). The committee says that it has had to promise confidentiality and will not be involved in interviews.
- Appointment of Hanneke Schönberger as senior researcher. On this subject, the committee says that she has only been working for Justice and Security since her appointment to the committee and that she too had to promise confidentiality. However, her LinkedIn profile tells that she was Senior Inspector at the Inspectorate of Justice and Security from 2019 to 2020.
- In response to Minister Grapperhaus' statement that the entire motion will be carried out, thus also the scope, the Hendriks Committee indicates that the Research and Documentation Centre (WODC) has already indicated that it cannot conduct such an investigation, so it is strange if they think they can. The Hendriks Committee also refers to the new research of the WODC, earlier in this article 'to new methods and techniques for estimating the extent of hidden phenomena such as this'. That must first be awaited.
In short, the committee does not even bother to keep up the pretence of independence from Justice. And the promise of Minister Grapperhaus that the extent will be investigated anyway, turns out to be an empty shell.
New motion for a truly independent commission, only chance of finding out the truth!
Victims of the horrors of organised sadistic abuse really have no way out. See the story of the girl Lisa, to see how it goes for a victim of sadistic abuse (in which high-ranking people are mentioned), who really does everything to get her story examined in court. The soapbox, alternative provided by Minister Grapperhaus, will undoubtedly lead to arrests for libel.
An investigation independent of the judiciary, where victims dare to speak, is still the only viable option. The truth about the many, many horrific testimonies of organised sadistic abuse that have been heard throughout the Western world for decades, must come to the surface. For all those children and adults. But also because our rule of law has a very big problem if such organised abuse can continue and if high-ranking officials, for example from the judiciary, are indeed involved.
16 October 2021 – Letter Practitioners: dissolve the Hendriks Committee and appoint an independent committee!
In this letter, we, a group of 20 mental health care professionals, list the reasons why many victims do not dare to talk in this committee. We urge the House of Representatives to abolish this committee and appoint a new one, independent of the judiciary, as called for in the first motion. In doing so, we are again setting out the specific preconditions needed to establish a committee that deserves the trust of victims.
Calling on parliamentarians and readers
Parliamentarians, be our voice and go for real independence of the investigation into organised sadistic abuse and the investigation into the LEBZ! Time is running out! Investigations in which not every effort is made to be independent, especially from the judiciary, will not produce anything that really helps victims and our rule of law. Readers, call (again) on the parliamentarian(s) of your choice to do so! They need our input!
Email addresses of members of the Lower House can be found on the website of the House of Representatives.
Addendum - appeal to police officers, sex investigators and prosecutors.
Following the advice of the LEBZ was never an obligation, but since 2016 the obligation to consult the LEBZ in cases of reports involving characteristics of ritual abuse has also been formally lifted. This is reflected in the written answer of the questions posed to the LEBZ by research programme Argos, see question 1, last paragraph. This piece is not very clearly worded, but on careful reading the meaning must be that the obligation to consult was there, but since 2016 it is no longer, a source within the police confirmed this. There is now more than reasonable doubt about the functioning of the LEBZ. Pending the investigation into the LEBZ, I therefore express the hope that police officers, vice investigators and Public Prosecutors will act according to their own judgement and knowledge when reporting (paedo) sexual offences involving ritual characteristics. It is not in the interest of justice, not in the interest of our society and certainly not in the interest of the victims to rely on the 'expertise' and more or less subtle guidance of the LEBZ.
Request for additional information
Should any reader of this article have new or additional information on the state of affairs regarding the implementation of both motions, please let me know via the contact form on this website.
Call up to GGZ-treaters
Are you a mental health practitioner, independent or within an institution, and are you also concerned about the lack of real independent research on organized sadistic abuse of children and adults? Please let us know through the contact page.
[i] The contact person for this investigation is stated in the intervening sentence