Words and deeds Hendriks commission so far

Information for survivors of organised sadistic abuse who are considering testifying before the Hendriks Committee, and for others who are interested.

Aline Terpstra, 29 January 2022

Open letter to survivors of organised sadistic abuse,

Perhaps you have not been able to follow all the steps that the Hendriks Committee has taken so far. I have followed it closely. That's why I want to summarise a few facts for you below. So that you can better weigh up your decision whether or not to talk to the Committee.

On 25 March 2021, without any consultation with victim interest groups, Minister Grapperhaus established the Hendriks Committee, consisting of chairman Mr Hendriks and member Ms Slotboom. The Committee is under the complete supervision of the Minister of Justice, as laid down in the establishment decision. Some of the words and deeds of the committee since then.

  1. Commission refuses to involve interest groups in selection of new commissioners

The commission ignored urgent requests from interest groups for victims of organised sadistic abuse to be involved in the selection of new commission members. The committee did not hesitate to increase the influence of the judiciary in the committee by appointing Daniëlle Lako, secretarial support from the judiciary, and Hanneke Schönberger, senior researcher. Of the latter, the committee says that she has only been working for Justice and Security since her appointment to the committee. This is misleading. Because her LinkedIn profile tells that she was Senior Inspector at the Inspectorate of Justice and Security from 2019 to 2020.

  • Chairman Hendriks championing alleged paedosexual offender interests

The committee is not listening to the urgent appeal by interest groups to replace the chairman, Mr. Hendriks. The interest groups are making this appeal for several reasons, but also because of his plea to use child pornography images for scientific research into relapse among perpetrators of paedosexual crimes.

Rightly so wrote Spotlight advocacy group: 'As well as this being ethically way over the line, the most important point for us is that it shows a huge lack of empathy for the victims of sexual abuse.'

Recently, another Article in which Mr. Hendriks claims on bizarre grounds that the ban on the paedophile association Martijn can increase the chance of child abuse. While the explicit aim of the paedophile association was to make the sexual abuse of children socially and legally acceptable.

  • The committee creates LEBZ-like noise from the very beginning

This commission would, in line with the factual findings of Argos (overlap in testimonies), investigate the nature and extent. Mr. Hendriks creates the usual noise, which the LEBZ also frequently creates, when it comes to organised sadistic abuse. He gives in his first interview  Once again, the idea that memories are invented or talked up by therapists is given free rein. Research was to be carried out into the nature and reception of these stories. To directly raise the idea that clients or their therapists are making up stories is to create noise. This mantra was introduced by the False Memory Movement, which is partly responsible for the stagnation of good scientific research and for the fact that reports are not taken seriously. In line with this, the committee first enters into an extensive dialogue with parents who feel falsely accused, such as the False Memory Working Group. They do this before even a single victim has been interviewed.

No doubt there are false reports of ritual abuse. There are also false reports of burglaries, property damage and even rock-solid proven false confessions of people who come forward as perpetrators of a committed murder.

But if you are going to do research into the nature and extent of organised sadistic abuse, it is bizarre to start with possibly false reports. By way of comparison, if you want to do research into the psychological consequences of unemployment, you don't start by interviewing the UWV about benefit fraud. You start by interviewing the unemployed and their environment, and at the most at the end you pay some attention to the fact that there is also benefit fraud.

This is clearly not a case of unbiased listening to victims' testimonies and looking for overlapping statements, which Argos did.

  • Commission does not make a case for investigating size

The committee is not going to investigate the extent. That is precisely what is essential. If there is no insight into the extent and no insight into positions within the judiciary where reports may be sabotaged, no real progress can be made in the field of investigation. After all, reports that are taken seriously by ordinary police officers may well be sabotaged by the higher levels. The fact that so many legal proceedings against high-ranking officials accused of sexual abuse in the past decades have seemed to disappear into thin air should not be forgotten.

Minister Grapperhaus removed the scope from the research assignment. When, under pressure, Minister Grapperhaus promised in the committee meeting of Justice and Security to have the committee investigate this, the committee wriggled out of it with the help of the foggy reasoning of the WODC.[1] A committee with compassion for victims would have seized this opportunity to include the essential dimensions in the investigation.

  • Even talks on preconditions for the safety of victims are cancelled!

On 13 December 2021, the Commission had scheduled a meeting with the KTGG to discuss ensuring the safety of the victims. On 6 December they sent a letter to the KTGG. This was one day before the vote in the Lower House on the motion for a truly independent investigation. The Hendriks Committee wrote: 'We have looked at the conditions you set for speaking to victims. In particular, the conditions on page 3 of your document 'The hearing of survivors by the Hendriks Committee' form too great a stumbling block. Partly because they cannot be met by us and partly because they concern matters over which we have no influence. (...) In view of the above, we do not consider a meeting on 13 December necessary'. There was no further explanation. The document referred to contains very real conditions for the safety of victims and reporting. It is too bizarre for words that the Committee even refused to discuss it.

And last but not least, the following applies to this research: if it doesn't help, it hurts. Taking a risk that does not pay off hurts you. But there is more.

Firstly, a bad investigation that does carry weight damages public opinion. It can be said again 'a thorough investigation has been done, but we cannot establish whether it is true or not'. Public opinion that does not investigate further assumes that it is apparently not possible to get to the truth and proceeds to the order of the day.

Secondly, it is obvious that this investigation will not yield any information about the size of the perpetrator's network. Nor about the possible positions within the police and justice department where the perpetrators are to be found. After all, the size of the network is not being investigated explicitly and it is also not the intention that victims provide specific information such as perpetrators and locations. The investigation will therefore yield less information than what Argos presented.

But the committee does have the task of setting up a hotline. If there is no insight into the above matters, this could perhaps lead to a new central justice reporting point from which the perpetrator network could benefit, such as easily tracing and punishing within the network victims who talk. Bad investigations that are taken seriously are therefore harmful.

It was after the previous Commission of Inquiry of Justice (1994) that the LEBZ was established (1999). And, as you know, the existence of the LEBZ has only made the judicial process more difficult for victims.

Dear survivor, it is high time that the heinous crimes that have been committed against you are brought to light. The forces that want to stop this seem immense. In the end, truth and justice will prevail. But this commission is not a path to that end.

[1] This was the text the committee sent to the KTGG: 'As you know, on 25 March 2021, Minister Grapperhaus indicated in a letter to the Speaker of the House of Representatives that the Research and Documentation Centre (WODC) had doubts about the scientific content of the method proposed in the motion. Therefore, the WODC indicated that they would not have research carried out in this manner. The WODC will, however, do a general research into new methods and techniques to estimate the extent of hidden phenomena such as this. This research has not yet been completed. It would of course be strange if our Commission thinks it can carry out such research and also strange not to wait for the findings of the WODC. For the above-mentioned reasons, we will not be carrying out a (very complicated) investigation into the scope ourselves. Should the Minister still wish to do so, it is obvious that this will be contracted out to another party. As I have written elsewhere, it is nonsense that a 'scientific method' was proposed in the first motion. Passing on 'scope' to another committee that will first investigate methods smacks of misty-eyed delaying tactics.