“I am shocked that the extent of the abuse in the church should have remained hidden for so long”.
This is a statement by former Dutch cabinet minister Wim Deetman. He heads the inquiry of sex abuse by Catholic priests is the Netherlands. More than 900 victims of sexual abuse in the Roman Catholic Church in the Netherlands have so far reported.
“Some perpetrators have also confessed”, Mr Deetman told Dutch daily de Volkskrant, although he has not yet had contact with them.
However, most of the cases of abuse took place so long ago they will no longer be liable to prosecution. Mr Deetman called on other abusers to come forward to try to make up for the harm they have caused.
The Christian Democrat statesman, appointed by the Catholic Church in May to head the inquiry into the sex abuse scandal, says that not all the victims are interested in receiving financial compensation.
“There are victims who only want to tell their story and have it investigated. There are many people who want help and guidance,” he said.
Two or three large meetings with victims are to be held in the coming months, Mr Deetman said, stressing that the inquiry would be listening to the victims, not merely providing information.
The inquiry also plans to establish an alternative channel to provide support for victims that is independent of the church’s own institute to investigate the abuse, Hulp & Recht (Help & Justice).
“Many victims have no confidence in Hulp & Recht,” he observed. He has receive e-mails from victims in their 60s saying it was the first time they had told anyone about their experiences.
Source: Radio Netherlands Worldwide