The Hague, February 18: In the wake of the "Sexual Abuse
Epidemic" unearthed in Roman Catholic Church in Netherlands, the
Deetman Commission is to conduct a follow-up investigation into
sexual abuse in the Roman Catholic Church. The commission was set
up last year under the leadership of former Dutch government
minister Wim Deetman to investigate allegations of abuse dating
from 1945 in Netherlands.
In December 2011, while revealing his first report which
shocked the world about the reality of inside church scandalous
activities, Deetman said that the problem of abuse continued in
part because the Catholic Church organisation 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”. However, he said that the commission concluded that “it
is wrong to talk of a culture of silence” by the church as a
The new investigation will examine the fate of girls and
women, according to Security and Justice Minister Ivo Opstelten.
The Dutch Justice Minister believes that the church itself must
determine what is investigated. He also sees a separate
investigation by the government on violence in the church is not.
"The prosecution will examine if there is reason for it, even if
facts may have been barred."
The report published late last year by the Deetman Commission
was not specifically restricted to boys, but the Dutch parliament
took the view that the position of girls and women was not covered
thoroughly enough. Wim Deetman recognizes that it would be a good
idea to examine the abuse of this group separately.
According to the Dutch Justice Minister, church directors have
approved the additional research. Mr Deetman expects it will be
ready this autumn.
Former government minister Deetman concluded late last year
that an estimated 20,000 children have been abused in Catholic
institutions. Directors of the church covered up the abuse and gave
hardly any help to the victims. Dutch Catholic sexual abuse was
revealed in the report.
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
The report said Catholic officials failed to tackle the
widespread abuse “to prevent scandals”. The suspected number of
abuse victims who spent some of their youth in church institutions
probably lies somewhere between 10,000 and 20,000, according to a
summary of the report.
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% of children who spent part
of their youth in an institution whether Catholic or not.
The commission said it received 1,800 complaints of abuse at
Catholic schools, seminaries and orphanages and that the
institutions suffered from "a failure of oversight". It then
conducted the broader survey of the general population for a more
comprehensive analysis of the scale and nature of sexual abuse of
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 commission identified about 800 priests, brothers, pastors
or lay people working for the church who had been named in the
complaints. About 105 of them were still alive, although it was not
known if they remained in church positions, the report said. It
identified them as "perpetrators" rather than "offenders", meaning
they had not been proven to have committed a crime.
According to the Dutch Central Bureau for Statistics 29% of
the Dutch population of 16 million identified themselves as
Catholics in 2008, making it the largest religion in the