The interviewees mainly reported psychological violence, such as harassment, humiliation and isolation. This had all kinds of negative consequences for them, such as relationship problems and problems with raising their own children.
Not only youth care institutions were the subject of research, but also foster care, youth psychiatry, homes for the slightly mentally handicapped, boarding homes for the deaf and the blind and minors in asylum seekers' centers.
Beaten with a belt
Commission President De Winter says he has sometimes heard stories “that were so shocking that I could hardly imagine at first that it had really happened”. As an example, he mentions stories about children who were taken away from their parents after the war because they were 'non-social'.
“They were put in a home. When those children were put to bed, people thought in those years: they do it on purpose. They had to undress, get wet underpants in front of the whole group and were beaten with a belt. We have heard these stories time and again. “
Beating was part of it
There is not one clear explanation for the widespread violence in youth care, the committee writes. It was usually a combination of factors. For a long time it was felt that children in foster homes and institutions should be disciplined. Physical punishments were part of daily life. In the first decades after the war there was no ban on hitting.
In the 1960s, more attention was gradually paid to the child and from the mid-1970s, youth care became more professional. From the 1990s onwards, there were more rules for treatment and higher demands were made on care. But after 2005 the child in youth care becomes “more hidden behind protocols and procedures”.
Another factor is lack of money. In the first decades after the war there was not enough money for good buildings and a good design, the last few decades it was mainly a lack of staff. “In a financial sense, Dutch youth care has been permanently underpaid.”