The police raided three buildings belonging to the Jehovah's Witnesses last month in an investigation into sexual abuse within the religious community. Four homes were also searched, with the goal of finding documents on internal investigations, NU.nl reports.
The Public Prosecution Service launched a criminal investigation into sexual abuse in the faith community of Jehovah's Witnesses, Minister Sander Dekker for Legal Protection said in a letter to parliament. Five people from different regions in the Netherlands filed declarations of sexual abuse, he said, ANP reports.
"At the Public Prosecutor, the declarations were carefully dealt with by specialist sex crime officers in the regions", the Minister said. He previously called on victims to file declarations so that a criminal investigation can be launched.
The number of reports of sexual abuse within the Jehovah's Witnesses now stands at 267, Reclaimed Voices, a foundation that manages the hotline for this type of abuse, said to newspaper Trouw.
A hotline established just over a month ago for victims of sexual abuse within the community of the Jehovah's Witnesses, already received around 80 reports, co-founder Frank Huiting confirmed to the Telegraaf.
Reclaimed Voices, a foundation set up in the Netherlands to denounce sexual abuse by Jehovah's Witnesses, received 46 reports of abuse in just a week's time. The number of reports is shocking, Frank Huiting, one of the founders and himself a victim of sexual abuse in a closed Jehovah's Witnesses community as a child, said to broadcaster NOS.