Abuse not tackled
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 yesterday.
The report by an independent commission said Catholic officials failed to tackle the widespread abuse in an attempt to prevent scandals. The suspected number of abuse victims who spent some of their youth in church institutions lies somewhere between 10 000 and 20 000, according to a summary of the report investigating allegations of abuse dating back to 1945.
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 over- sight.” It then conducted the survey of the general population for a more comprehensive analysis of the scale of sexual abuse of minors.
Based on a survey among more than 34 000 people, the commission estimated that one in 10 Dutch children suffered some form of abuse broadly in society. The number doubled to 20 percent of children who spent part of their youth in an institution – whether Catholic or not. The commission was set up last year under the leadership of former government minister Wim Deetman.
He said the problem of abuse continued in part because the Catholic church in the Netherlands was splintered, so bishops and religious orders sometimes worked autonomously to deal with abuse and “did not hang out their dirty laundry.” – Sapa-ap