What to do with an association that resembles a cult?

Verified 07 February 2022 - Directorate for Legal and Administrative Information (Prime Minister)

Cults can sometimes use the associative form to exercise their activities. The latter are characterized by mental control which adversely affects a person's moral, health, financial and family balance. Victims of these acts (members, former members, or family members) can take various actions.

After collecting certain information about the association, victims can inform the Inter-ministerial Mission for Monitoring and Combating Sectarian Abuse (Miviludes), make a report or file a complaint with the competent authorities.

To get information about an association that seems to be drifting sectarian, you can do the following:

Query the Miviludes

At the Miviludes

You wish to inform the Miviludes of the existence or risk of sectarian drift in order to be assisted or to be guided in your efforts:

Inform the Miviludes of the existence or risk of sectarian drift

You can also contact the local correspondents of the Miviludes in regional or departmental administrations.

Letters to the local correspondents of the Miviludes in the regional or departmental administrations, and to the professionals are to be sent to the correspondent Sectarian Drifts of the service or organization concerned.

With professionals

You can also contact the health professionals (departmental councils of the college of doctors, pharmacists,...) or the associations of victims of sectarian abuse.

They can provide you with help and information.

At the National Center for Assistance and Prevention of Radicalization (Cnapr)

If you are faced with the violent radical involvement of a relative, you can contact the National Center for Assistance and Prevention of Radicalization (Cnapr).

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By telephone

Who shall I contact

Report to department services

The departmental child welfare services (Ase) are responsible for collecting and processing information of concern regarding minors at risk or at risk of danger.

After assessing the situation, the ESA service may refer the case to the public prosecutor if its actions have proved ineffective in remedying the danger situation of the minor.

Who shall I contact

Call the National Child in Danger Hotline

Adults and minors facing or concerned by a risk and danger situation can report to the National Child in Danger Telephone Service (SNATED). This service is commonly called Maltreated Hello Childhood.

Information of concern shall be forwarded to the department concerned.

Who shall I contact

Request the intervention of the Children's Judge

The children's judge may act when the health, safety or morals of a minor are at risk.

Children's judges may also be called upon if the conditions of education or physical, emotional, intellectual and social development are seriously compromised.

The intervention of the judge may be requested by one of the two parents or the two jointly or by the person or department to whom the child has been entrusted or the legal guardian or the minor himself.

You can go to the police station or the gendarmerie brigade as soon as a infringement is committed.

This may be the case, for example, in the case ofswindle, ofbreach of trust, ofsexual abuse of minors, of elder abuse.

You can also file a complaint for abuse of weakness, if no specific offense of sectarian drift can be invoked.

Your complaint must be directed against the association (and its offending members) in order to be initiated criminal liability as legal person.

On the spot

You must go to a police station or a gendarme brigade of your choice.

Who shall I contact

You may not be refused the receipt of the complaint.

The complaint is then forwarded to the public prosecutor by the police or gendarmerie.

By mail

You can file a complaint with the public prosecutor.

We need to send a free-form letter the court of law of the place of the offense or of the domicile of the offender.

Who shall I contact

The letter should specify the following:

  • Your marital status and full contact information (address and telephone number)
  • Detailed account of the facts, date and place of the offense
  • Name of the alleged perpetrator if known (otherwise, the complaint will be filed against X)
  • Names and addresses of any witnesses to the offense
  • Description and provisional or definitive estimate of the damage
  • Evidence: medical certificates, work stoppages, miscellaneous invoices, findings ...
  • Willingness to take civil action

File a complaint with the public prosecutor

Who shall I contact

You can send your complaint by registered letter with acknowledgement of receipt, by simple letter or by letter followed.

You can also file your complaint directly at the courthouse.

In any case, a receipt is given to you as soon as the Public Prosecutor's Office has registered your complaint.