Abuse not tack­led

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - WORLD -

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

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