Maria de Jong in Mr. Online: 'It's wonderful to mean something to people'
Maria de Jong-de Kruijf was awarded a doctorate degree on 7 March for her research on children in secure residential youth care. The Dutch website for legal professionals, Mr. Online, interviewed her for their ‘lawyer of the week’ column.
In her research De Jong-de Kruijf concluded among other things that lawyers often have no alternative available for secure youth care, which amounts to deprivation of liberty. As part of her research, she spoke to 23 children who had been placed in secure care.
'I would like to speak to those children again', she said in the interview in Dutch on Mr. Online. 'It would be a good follow-up study. Often after an interview I would stay on to eat with the group, and lots went on while sitting at the table. It became clear that you only get to hear one side of a child’s story. But I did find that the children were open about everything that was going on in their lives. The loneliness they show, which they also sometimes talked to me about, was very poignant.'
She also talks about her work as a family law lawyer. 'The legal reality is just a fraction of a client’s reality. It is wonderful if you can actually mean something to clients outside the legal reality. From one person to another.'