'Dutch church abused thousands of children'
The Hague: Thousands of children suffered
sexual abuse in Dutch Catholic institutions, and church
officials failed to adequately address the abuse or help the
victims, according to a long-awaited investigation released
The report by an independent commission said Catholic
officials failed to tackle the widespread abuse "to prevent
Based on a survey among more than 34,000 people, the
commission estimated that one in 10 Dutch children suffered
some form of abuse. The number doubled to 20 per cent of
children who spent some of their youth in a Catholic
The commission said it received some 1,800 complaints of
abuse at Catholic schools, seminaries and orphanages and that
the institutions suffered from "a failure of oversight."
The commission was set up last year under the leadership
of former government minister Wim Deetman to investigate
allegations of abuse dating from 1945.
The investigation followed allegations of repeated
incidents of abuse at one cloister that quickly spread to
claims from Catholic institutions across the country, echoing
similar scandals around the world.
The Dutch branch of the Catholic Church agreed last month
to launch a compensation system that clears the way for
victims of abuse by priests and other church workers to
The new compensation system has a scale starting at USD
6,500 and rising to a maximum of USD 130,000 depending on the
nature of the abuse.
According to the Dutch Central Bureau for Statistics, 29
per cent of the Dutch population of 16 million identified
themselves as Catholics in 2008, making it the largest
religion in the country.