The COC has an independent complaints committee that works for all COC member organizations. This page tells you how to file a complaint and how it is handled.

Filing a complaint

  • Complaints must be submitted in writing. This is form-free. You are requested to describe the incident(s) as accurately as possible. This may be in your own words. The address of the complaints committee can be found at the bottom of this page.
  • Upon receipt of the written complaint, you will be notified in writing and informed of further follow-up.
  • Based on the complaint, the independent complaints committee will assess whether it will be considered. The complaints committee can only deal with complaints that can be tested against the rules of conduct that apply to all sections of the federation as of January 1, 2016. If this is not the case, the complainant will be referred to another body of the federation. For example, a complaint about the membership administration or cleaning of the COC premises will not be handled by the complaints committee.
  • If the complaint is considered by the complaints committee, you will be invited to explain your complaint orally in person before the complaints committee. You may then be assisted by a confidential advisor.

Hearsay

  • The person about whom the complaint is made is notified that a complaint about him/her is being processed and also by whom. The accused is informed of the procedure and given the opportunity to defend him/her in writing.
  • The Complaints Committee invites both the complainant and the defendant to explain their complaint and defense orally in order to hear both sides of the argument. The defendant may also be assisted by a confidential adviser.
  • This may result in a resolution satisfactory to the complainant being reached at the grievance committee hearing, thus disposing of the matter. Or the grievance committee may rule that there should be consequences for the defendant's conduct.

Findings of the complaints committee

  • The complaint committee shall report its findings in writing to the complainant, defendant and to the board of the legal entity. That report also contains a recommendation for action to be taken by the board. This also makes it known to the board of the legal entity that there is a problem with a volunteer/employee/visitor within their association.
  • The use of the independent complaints commission is a tough tool. The complainant is taken seriously. There may be serious consequences for the accused.
  • The management of the federation office of COC Netherlands receives a copy of the advice and will address the board of the legal entity to follow the advice.

Duration of the procedure

  • Doing notification - acknowledgement of receipt - 2 working days.
  • Notice to consider or not to consider: 2 weeks.
  • Notice to defendant and opportunity for written rebuttal: 2 weeks.
  • Hearing at a hearing of the grievance committee: 6 weeks, with an extension of 2 weeks if the agenda cannot be otherwise.
  • Final judgment and recommendation of the Complaint Committee to complainant, defendant and legal entity: within 2 weeks of a hearing.

Confidentiality

Only the members of the committee, the official secretary, the complainant and the accused and their confidants, if any, have access to the complaint. The committee shares its findings with the board of the legal entity and the management of COC Nederland.

Members of the complaint committee

COC Netherlands' complaints committee consists of:

  • Christine Linzel, head of volunteer support Zonnebloem, secretary Foundation for Disciplinary Law on Volunteering, chair of the Supervisory Committee of the Transportation & Support Service
  • Achmed Baayens, criminal lawyer in Utrecht, member of the Supervisory Committee of the Transport & Support Service
  • Jan Maarten Reinking, senior counsel at the Court of Appeal in The Hague, member of various complaints committees and supervisory committees at the Judicial Institutions Service.

To guarantee their independence, none of the members hold any other active position within the federation COC Netherlands. The committee is officially supported by the coordinator of operations at COC Netherlands.

Annual Report

The complaints committee presents an annual written report to the General Assembly, the highest body of the federation. This includes anonymously the complaints dealt with and the opinions issued. This indicates to the highest level within the federation the importance of creating a safe environment for all, fostering a culture of good behavior and promoting the self-cleansing ability of the organization.

Contact with the complaint committee

The committee can be reached at the email address: [email protected]
or
COC Netherlands
Attn: complaints committee
P.O. Box 3836
1001 AP Amsterdam

We have an English translation available: Code of Good Conduct