Top statistician Richard Gill hits out at the investigation carried out by Statistics Netherlands (CBS) into the detention of children of victims of the benefit scandal. ‘CBS should never have concluded that this group of parents were not hit harder than other parents.’
Emeritus Professor Richard Gill would prefer to pick edible mushrooms in the forest and spend time with his grandchildren. Nevertheless, the top statistician in the Netherlands, who previously helped acquit the wrongfully convicted Lucia de B, is now firmly committed to the benefits case.
CBS should never have started the investigation into the custody of children of victims in the benefits case, Gill says. ,, And the conclusion that this group of parents has not been hit harder than other parents should never have been drawn by CBS. This made many people think: only the tax system has failed, but fortunately there is nothing wrong with youth care. So all the fuss about ‘state kidnappings’ was unnecessary.”
After Statistics Netherlands calculated how many children of foster parents were placed outside the home (in the end it turned out to be 2090), it appeared that victims of the affair lost their children more often than similar parents who did not were victims. The results were presented on November 1 last year, which Gill now condemns.
Gill is emeritus professor of mathematical statistics at Leiden University and was formerly an advisor to the methodology department at Statistics Netherlands. In the case of Lucia de B., he showed that calculations which would show that De B. had more deaths in her services were wrong.
There is a special reason why Gill is now getting stuck in the benefits business – but more on that later. First about the CBS report. Gill states that Statistics Netherlands is not equipped for this type of research and points out that after two research methods were dropped, only one “not ideal, but only option” remained. Among other things, he also thinks that the more severely affected victims in the allowance affair should be the focal point of the investigation. He emphasizes that relatively lightly affected families have most likely had to deal with much less drastic consequences. CBS also says itself that it would like to use information about the degree of duping, but that there was none.
CBS also acknowledges some points of criticism. ,,CBS itself has mentioned a number of comments on the report. There appears to be a misunderstanding on one point,” said a spokesman, who also said CBS still fully supports the conclusions. CBS will soon discuss the method used with Gill, but in any case CBS sees itself as the right party to carry out the investigation. “CBS is tasked with providing insight into social conditions with reliable statistical information and data and has the necessary expertise and techniques. In this case, there was a clear societal need for statistical insight.”
Gill thinks otherwise and thinks it’s important to bring this up. Because he is awakened by injustice. It was also a reason to offer his help when questions arose about the sentence of Lucia de B., who can only be called Lucia de Berk again since her acquittal. In 2003, she was sentenced to life imprisonment.
Placement outside the home
With his acquittal in 2010, Gill became not only a top statistician, but also a beacon of hope for people experiencing injustice. And José Booij, mother of a foster child, contacted him many years ago.
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