Girl brings charges of child abuse by youth care facility
The 16-year-old girl was staying in a closed juvenile care institution where, among other things, she was administered 'pain stimuli'. The charges are the first of their kind, says Mariëlle Bruning, Professor of Children and the Law, to Dutch newspaper the Volkskrant.
According to the girl, the staff at care institution Woodbrookers, part of Jeugdhulp Friesland, allegedly used various forms of violence. For instance, her thumbs were allegedly pushed hard against her wrists and leg clamps were applied.
These charges follow shortly after an investigation report on abuses within the institution was leaked. That report included the girl's case. The report had not been shared with parents and those involved.
'There’s every reason for the OM to look very closely at this. Government authorities are responsible for protecting children from violence.'
The public prosecutor's office (OM in Dutch) will now have to decide whether to prosecute. Bruning on the charges: 'I don't know of any similar cases. There’s every reason for the OM to look very closely at this. Government authorities are responsible for protecting children from violence. It seems obvious to me that the cases mentioned involve violence and child abuse.'
Who is liable to punishment?
The Volkskrant says that ‘the report (...) not only [focuses] on Jeugdhulp Friesland, but also on several Woodbrook employees, including the director’. According to Bruning, 'it’s interesting to ask who is liable to punishment when violence is used against young people in such a situation … the individual employee? Or the supervisors who gave the instructions?'
According to the Volkskrant more charges have since been filed against the institution. In addition, more victims are reportedly considering bringing charges.
Find out more?
Read the Volkskrant article (in Dutch) about the charges (€). The newspaper reported in a previous article on the leaked investigation report (€), which preceded the charges.
Photo: Anthony Tran via Unsplash.