Child abuse center slammed for months-long waiting lists

Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Wildfeuer)Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Wildfeuer)

The reporting point for child abuse Veilig Thuis is dealing with months-long waiting lists, no oversight on the safety of abused children and unreachable doctors, according to a report by the Youth Care Inspectorate, which NRC had a look at.

Veilig Thuis, Safe Home in English, is a fusion of the Advice and Reporting Center for Child Abuse and the Support Point for Domestic Violence. Since the start of this year it serves as the reporting point for child abuse and domestic violence and falls under municipal responsibility. Veilig Thuis is responsible for registering reports of child abuse, determining if they are well founded and starting the aid process if they are.

Over the past few weeks the Inspectorate visited 10 of the 26 Veilig Thuis branches and found that all of them fail in their oversight on the safety of children, according to NRC. In practice it often takes months before help is arranged.

When the Inspectorate visited Veilig Thuis in Gelderland-Zuid, it found a waiting list involving 78 cases, including cases with "high priority". At this branch, abused kids have to wait 3 months before help is available. In the Hollands Midden branch, which covers Gouda and Leiden, there are 100 cases on the waiting list, with a waiting period of four months. Groningen has 80 cases on the waiting list. Groningen has made "no contact" with the families on the waiting list and there are no "interim safety arrangements" in place.

At the Zuidoost-Brabant, Twente, Noord- and Midden-Limburg and Brabant-Noordoost branches, the Inspectorate found that the medical counselor - the doctor who determines whether the suspicion of child abuse is well founded - is only available during office hours, instead of 24 hours a day as should be the case.

The Inspectorate will officially publish this report in the coming weeks, and cannot comment on it until then.