What began as parental access procedures between her two children and her ex-husband ended years of legal battle.
Neglect and psychological abuse
Natalie van Watershoot, Chief Justice of the Amsterdam Court, told her story yesterday at the Humberto table. “I fell off my seat and did not know that this was possible in a constitutional country like the Netherlands.” Watch the full conversation here:
Despite neglect and mental abuse, her children had to maintain contact with her ex-husband. Van Waterschoot believes something needs to be done about the legal system. Often the parents are not listened to and, above all, are not taken seriously by both the judiciary and the caregivers involved, according to the judge.
“I’ve seen organizations like Veilig Thuis or Bureau Jeugdzorg write gossip without investigating what was really going on,” Van Waterschout says. “At the same time, the children were actually not getting any help.”
When she herself was forced to go to court, she found herself unable to obtain protection there. “It was strange for me to be wearing a double hat in front of the judge,” she explains. “Our case was simplified when a married couple quarreled over children.”
According to Van Waterschoot, the kids were psychologically abused by her ex-husband, and without going into detail, there were “other things that couldn’t stand the light of day.” However, her children had always been in contact with her ex-husband.
During the trial, she remained silent about the violations, but now that her children have reached adulthood, the judge is sounding the alarm. Even if, as a judge, she is unable to describe the actual situation, how should all of these other parents be taken seriously.
“Based on reports that are not based on facts, the judge makes decisions about your children,” Van Watershot says. “Kids are interested in incredibly good research and the judge should listen better.”