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"CULT" and children
October 2007

 


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“Cults” and children: the official figures !!!!

Under the cover of fighting “cults” minority faiths are widely discredited in the media and often their right to answer is simply scoffed.

The word “cult” has already proved itself in History; with no juridical definition and charged with a strong emotional connotation, it has enabled, in other times, to discredit Jews, Protestants, Freemasons, and even the Salvation Army.

In the present campaigns aiming to reject members of minority movement, the most alarmist figures are spread by the protagonists of “cult” hunting Of course, these figures are false, but by repeating a lie, some probably hope to make it a truth!

To enable everyone to be aware of the real situation about this false problem, we have gathered here the statements of the highest authorities in the government who have lead investigations in the field on this subject.

"Cults" and children: the official figures

Statement of the Prime Minister, Dominique de Villepin, at the National Assembly, on the 6th of September 2005 :

Answering a question from Philippe Vuilque, President of the study group on cults, the Prime Minister said :“

The cases of physical or psychological ill-treatments of minors in connection with the belonging of one or both of their parents to a movement said to have a sectarian aspect, are exceptional.”

Other statements before the National Assembly: Report # 3507 registered at the Presidency of the National Assembly on December 12, 2006. Summary of the hearings.

Mrs. SANCY, Office of the Judicial Affairs of the Legislation, Director of the Judicial Protection of Youth, Ministry of Justice.

« Three years ago, we led an investigation, with the judges for children, so that we could, likewise, define statistically what the sectarian problem could represent in the work of magistrates and educators and we could see that it was very marginal in relation to the whole of other problems.»

Mr. Etienne Madranges, Director of Youth and Popular Education, Ministry of Youth, Sports and Associative Life.”

As a matter of fact, for the last three years, […], we had no case to deal with”

Mr. Didier Leschi, Chief of the Central Office of Worships, Ministry of Interior.“

Never had an incident which implicates children”

Mr. Jean-Yves Dupuis, Inspector General, Ministry of National Education

“During the past school year […] there has been a total of 19,000 reporting to the Prosecutors of the Republic, about children considered to be in danger for various reasons. When we asked the Inspectors of Academy, who amongst these children, how many children were in danger due to sectarian movements, they said there were only eight.”

Françoise Le Bihan, Assistant Directrix of the Service of French People abroad and foreigners in France (DFAE), Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

“In this wide set, I have found trace of only two cases showing a connection with sectarian behavior.”

Mr. Thierry-Xavier Girardot, Director of Juridical Affairs at the Ministry of National Education, Superior Teaching and Research.

Question : « Out of these 23 children, how many exactly were concerned by the sectarian phenomenon?”

Answer: “I am not sure there is only even one.”

Mrs. Carola Arrighi de Casanova, Assistant-Manageress of the Direction of Civil Affairs and of the Seals at the Ministry of Justice.

“I must immediately state that we are almost never confronted to situations connected to cults.”

Mr. Michel Rispe, Chief of the Office of Civil and Commercial International Mutual Help at the Ministry of Justice

« There is, up to date, no file opened, amongst some of the 500 files in stock, in which there are allegations of sectarian belonging.”

Mr. Joël BOUCHITÉ, General Director of Renseignements Généraux of the Ministry of the Interior and the Development of Territory.

Mr. Joël BOUCHITÉ : As a matter of fact, 60.000 children on the whole national territory, this seems a lot to me. During our relationship in the field, in prefectures, with the National Education, the DDASS (Institution in charge of e.g. homeless children), the holiday centers and all structures dealing with youth, we never had to deal with 60,000 reporting, nor even 30,000, but a few dozens at most…

Mr. Michel GAUDIN, General Director of National Police

Mr. Michel GAUDIN : I have the feeling that the phenomenon, while still preoccupying in some individual cases where children are concerned, is not a type of delinquency of such an extent that we should so much worry about it.

Hearing of General Guy PARAYRE, General Director of National Constabulary,
(Report of session of 4th October 2006)“

Organizations that fight “cults” sometimes set forth that 20,000 minors could be under the influence of sectarian movements. The lack of standards to delimit with precision the situation from which it is reasonable to talk about implication of these minors in movements still compels to be very cautious about this figure. In any case, even if they only constitute the emerged part of the phenomenon, the number of cases handled by the police are is much lower than these estimations: since 2004, only 37 complaints have been registered by the police units. »

Mrs. Carola ARRIGHI de CASANOVA, Assistant Manageress of the Direction of Civil Affaires and of the Seal (DACS) at the Ministry of Justice.
(Report of session of 12th October 2006)

Mrs. Carola ARRIGHI de CASANOVA : First I like to say that two departments are in charge of Illegal moving of children: the office of civil and international commercial mutual aid which takes care of about all international conventions, like about the procurement of evidences and transmission of judiciary acts, and the mission of help to international mediation for families – the MAMIF- created in 2001 within my sub-direction to help alleviate conflicts within families, either in cases when we do not succeed in having international conventions running, or in cases where we have the feeling that an agreement between the parents is possible. I would like to immediately state that we are almost never confronted to situations connected to cults.

Mr. Thierry-Xavier GIRARDOT, Director of Juridical Cases at the Ministry of National Education, Superior Teaching and Research
(Report of session of 10th October 2006)

Mr. Thierry-Xavier GIRARDOT : The Prevention Unit for the Sectarian Phenomena has prepared a quantitative assessment covering the most recent period: number of controls done, number of formal notices to send to school, etc. I do not know if we have data on the whole of the period since the promulgation of the law, but during last year, we listed bit less than 3.000 children educated within their families, we have made 1,119 checks, out of which 23 ended by a formal notice to educate the child in a school, generally not for reasons connected to cults, but simply because the education within the family did not match the requirements of the 1999 decree, henceforth in the statutory part of the Code of Education.

Mr. President : Out of these 23 children, how many exactly related to the cult phenomenon ?

Mr. Thierry-Xavier GIRARDOT : I am not sure there had been even one…

Mr. Michel RISPE, Chief of the Office of Civil and Commercial International Mutual Aid at the Ministry of Justice.
(Report of session of 12th October 2006)

Mr. Michel RISPE : Today, no file is opened, amongst some 500 existing files in stock in which there had been allegations of sectarian belonging.

Hearing of Mr. Didier Leschi
Chief of the Central Office of Worships
Ministry of the Interior
Tuesday 17th October 2006

I have therefore asked, during a committee of pilotage of the MIVILUDES, that an investigation be launched with regional agencies of hospitalization and hospitals in order to take a census of, eventually, facts constitutive of trouble to law and order connected to the refusal of blood transfusion.

The representative of the Ministry of Health within the structures of the MIVILUDES had told us, at the time, that this census was impossible, because for fear of procedures, the hospitals’ responsibles would hesitate to denounce troubles to law and order. I consider this explanation to be slight, mainly if the life of thousand children is at stake. The figure of 45.000 children of Witnesses of Jehovah has sometimes been set forth. Hospitals state-workers are protected by their statute and they have the obligation to signal punishable facts to the Prosecutor of the Republic.

In view of this hearing, I have asked the prefectures to take a census, on the last three years, of incidents connected to transfusion. A small number of incidents came up, often settled by discussion. No incident implicating children or a vital prognostic has been noted.

Source : Report n° 3507 registered at the Presidency of the National Assembly on 12th December 2006. Summary of the hearings – page 446

Hearing of Jean-Yves Dupuis
General Inspector
Ministry of National Education
Tuesday 10th October 2006

In view of our hearing by your commission of investigation, we have very rapidly made an investigation by all inspectors of academy. During the past school year, inspectors of academy or rectors have made 19.000 descriptions to Prosecutors of the Republic, concerning children considered to be in danger for various reasons.

When we have asked the inspectors of academy who were, amongst these children in danger, the ones who were in danger due to sectarian movements, they answered us there were 8 of them.

Source : Report n° 3507 registered at the Presidency of National Assembly on 12th December 2006. Summary of hearings – page 348

Hearing of Mrs. SANCY
Office of Judicial Affairs of the Legislation,
Director of the Judicial Protection of Youth,
Ministry of Justice
Tuesday 3rd October 2006

Three years ago, we have done, by the judges for children, an investigation in order to be able, likewise, to define a bit statistically what the sectarian problem could represent in the work of magistrates and educators and we noticed that it was very marginal in relation to the whole of other problems our Direction is conduced to manage for the same minors, i.e. problems of violence, unschooling, professional insertion, family difficulties.

Source : Rapport n° 3507 registered at the Presidency of the National Assembly on 12th December 2006. Summary of hearings – page 288

Hearing of Mr. Etienne Madranges
Director of Youth and Popular Education
Ministry of Youth, Sports and Associative Life
Tuesday 18th October 2006

The Ministry has set up, at the national level, a cell coordinated by a General Inspector. He regularly gathers representatives of Directions of Youth, Sports and Associative Life. He listens to experts, convokes departmental Directors, and makes sure that the politics of prevention of the Ministry is well set up.

At the local level, we have set up a correspondent in each department. These correspondents send up their information. But this is not enough. We regularly gather the regional Directors of Youth and Sports. […]

The sending up of information goes through the correspondents, but also through our inspectors, who inspect sports structures, holiday’s centers and structures of leisure. Statistically, in the youth field, we have very little sending up of information... […]

But we shall inspect. Statistically, since the last three years, we have had no case where we could have demonstrate a deliberated imperiling of minors.

Source : Rapport n° 3507 registered at the Presidency of the National Assembly on 12th December 2006. Summary of hearings – page 459

Hearing of Mrs. Françoise Le Bihan
Assistant-Manageress at the Service of French People Abroad and Foreigners in France (DFAE)
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Tuesday 17th October 2006

Mrs. Françoise LE BIHAN : Our service is in charge of all which concerns consular protection of French people abroad, therefore of children. So, it is in the whole of the perimeter of our actions that I have searched the ones which could interest your mission. For this, I have distinguished the illicit moving of children, forced weddings which can concern minors, the help we have conduced to give French children in distress residing abroad.

In this wide set, I have found trace of only two cases presenting a connection with sectarian behavior : the first one, in Canada, has been in the news ; it concerns Mrs. Getliffe and her children ; the second one, which name I do not wish to give, concerns the father of a child taken to Switzerland by his mother. […]

Mr. President : Have you not been seized of descriptions of children transferred in ashrams in India ?

Mrs. Françoise LE BIHAN : No. For the whole of the two services composing our Direction, out of which one is in charge of the setting up of conventions of judicial cooperation and the other one of the strict consular protection, there has be no other case than the two I have just mentioned.

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