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This seems to be some interesting news from RTL News, if it's true Jehovah's Witnesses call on members to cooperate in investigations of abuse The board of Jehovah's Witnesses Netherlands has called on its members to participate in research at Utrecht University into sexual abuse within the organization. The appeal is remarkable because the denomination normally avoids contact with non-ecclesiastical authorities. The call is included in an internal letter in the hands of RTL News. Personal choice In the letter, which was sent to all departments last week, the board asks members who are victims of child abuse to fill in a questionnaire on the Utrecht University site. He is commissioned by the Ministry of Justice and Security to investigate abuse within Jehovah's Witnesses. "Of course participation in this study is a personal choice," the board writes in the letter. "Nevertheless, we hope that this will give Utrecht University accurate and balanced information about how our organization responds to abuse." According to sources within the church, the letter was read during meetings in the church buildings. Jehovah's Witnesses was unable to respond to this message on Monday, a RTL News spokesperson said. Under attention Jehovah's Witnesses have recently been discredited because they only prosecute perpetrators of child abuse internally and do not report them to the police and the judicial authorities. The organization also refuses to hand over documents on internal court cases to the judiciary. Therefore, last November the police raided the headquartersof Jehovah's Witnesses. Kees van den Bos, research leader at Utrecht University is 'naturally' happy with the appeal from the board of Jehovah's Witnesses. "We have been in touch by email over the past few weeks and have asked them to bring our research to the attention of their members. It's nice to hear that they have done so now." The researchers were not involved in the preparation of the letter. The investigators have now received 'a few hundred serious reports' about abuse within Jehovah's Witnesses. Van den Bos could not say whether the last call led to new reports. The Reclaimed Voices foundation, which represents victims of abuse within Jehovah's witnesses, is also "positive" that the Jehovah's Witnesses point their members to this investigation. "We hope that active Jehovah's Witnesses who are victims of sexual abuse or who are aware of a situation will participate in the investigation," says President Raymond Hintjes. The research at Utrecht University came about following a motion from the House of Representatives. The goal is to see how Jehovah's Witnesses deals with reports of child abuse. Anyone who has experience with abuse within that church can report to the investigators until 1 June . The intention is that the final report can be published in the autumn.
Download Dear reader, as you may have heard via the media or via our internet channels, Utrecht University is commissioned by the Ministry of Justice and Security to conduct an independent investigation into how Jehovah's Witnesses deal with complaints of sexual abuse. This research is the result of a motion unanimously adopted by the House of Representatives. Reclaimed Voices has tried to do this by talking to politicians who eventually drew up this motion. Now the University of Utrecht would like to hear background stories from people who themselves had experienced abuse within the Jehovah's Witnesses. They also like to hear from people who know about someone else who has been abused. The stories can be shared anonymously with the university, but you can also decide to leave your name and contact details if you wish. All information will be treated confidentially by the University of Utrecht and these stories will NOT be shared with others. As chairman of Reclaimed Voices, I would like to ask you to consider cooperating with this research. You thereby make an important contribution to the research. The questionnaire of this research can be found via this link: