Domestic violence center fires counselor for inappropriate behavior with 37 women
An Amsterdam employee of Veilig Thuis, a center for assisting domestic violence victims and handling abuse claims, was fired with immediate effect. The man was accused of transgressive behavior with 37 female clients and former clients of the center since 2017. Privacy concerns prevented details of his behavior from being released. An investigation into the severity of his behavior is ongoing, and the municipality of Amsterdam filed a police report against him.
Healthcare Alderman Simone Kukenheim and Mayor Femke Halsema disclosed this to the city council on Friday. "Over-the-line behavior towards vulnerable people within a care provider or of a dependent relationship is unacceptable. These women were entrusted to the care of Veilig Thuis. That there was an employee who abused his informed position as a counselor for vulnerable clients in an environment that should be preemptively safe and reliable, is serious and we deeply regret that," said Kukenheim and Halsema.
Veilig Thuis received the first report from a former client on August 26. The organization immediately suspended the employee. The ensuing investigation revealed that this employee approached 37 current and former clients via WhatsApp to make appointments, while there was no longer any reason for him to do so in the context of his position.
In coordination with the sex crime division of the police and the Sexual Violence Support Center, the Amsterdam Municipal Health Service (GGD) then engaged a specialized agency to contact the 37 women. Eight of them could not be reached. The social workers talked to the women about their experiences and offered further assistance.
In addition to the police report, a disciplinary complaint was also filed against the man so that he cannot work in this position again in the future. His behavior was also reported to his previous employer, the alderman and mayor wrote. In addition, the GGD Amsterdam is investigating how this happened at Veilig Thuis, and how such behavior can be prevented in the future.
Reporting by ANP