This report comprises of research into cases of historical sexual abuse that took place in the SOS Children’s Village in Suriname. This research covers roughly the period from the early seventies to 2006. The research took place partly in the Netherlands and partly in Suriname.
This first chapter describes the conclusions and recommendations. This chapter can be read as a reading substitute summary. For each research question, the main findings are described after which we summarize the key conclusions. First, we discuss some methodological aspects so that the reader can properly appreciate the results.
Study covers thirty years
Commissioned by SOS Children’s Villages International (CVI), Verinorm researched cases of abuse in the SOS Children’s Village Suriname. The research began in 2021, with two reports of abuse that would have happened in the 1990s. During this research, the scope was broadened, both in length of time and in terms of the nature of the abuse. The stories of the victims show that abuse occurred from the foundation of the Children’s Village in 1972 until its closure in 2006. The study therefore covers a period of over thirty years. The research also makes clear that there was not only sexual and physical abuse but also emotional and financial abuse. These forms of abuse are also included in the research.
The following sources were used: desk research, mainly intended to provide context, a document analysis of internal (but publicly available) policy documents of SOS CVI and internal documents concerning incidents around 2004 in SOS Children’s Village Suriname. In addition, individual interviews were held with, among others, victims, former employees of SOS Children’s Village Suriname and former employees of SOS Children’s Villages Netherlands and with experts, for example on the culture in Suriname. In total, 35 people were interviewed, nineteen of whom were victims. An overview of the web pages, articles and documents consulted and analysed can be found in the annexes.
Although we have tried to bring all cases of different forms of abuse, including sexual abuse, to the surface, it is inevitable that some cases have remained hidden. In the interviews, several respondents spoke about other children who had lived in the Children’s Villages in Suriname and had experienced some form of abuse there. The respondents indicated that they were aware of this. However, it is not clear exactly what they experienced. Therefore, only the victims’ own stories/experiences of abuse were considered. In several interviews it is also indicated that they “know that” or “have heard about” others’ experiences of abuse. Sometimes, names of victims we did not speak to were mentioned in this context. These have not been included in this study (in the counts) because it seems to be more about “hearsay” and these stories are therefore less reliable. We were not able to speak to all the victims. Although an attempt was made to bring all cases of abuse to the surface, it is - unfortunately - inevitable that some cases remained hidden.