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Statue of the Virgin  Mary, and a rosary

Sexual abuse

Early in 2010, many cases of sexual abuse of minors in the Roman Catholic Church came to light. At the Church's request an independent committee carried out an investigation into abuse in the period 1945-2010. The committee was under the leadership of former politician Wim Deetman. One of the conclusions of the committee was that probably tens of thousands of minors had been subject to sexual abuse in this period.

Reporting centre

Until 1 May 2015 victims could lodge a complaint with a reporting centre for sexual abuse, ("Meldpunt seksueel misbruik RKK") involving already deceased perpetrators or sexual abuse barred by the statute of limitation. The victims were also entitled to financial compensation. In a number of cases, however, there was insufficient supporting evidence, whereas the stories of these "complainers" were often credible enough. That is why the Church has offered them a financial concession (referred to as "final action").

"Distressing cases"

The Church is now considering how to deal with victims who were unable to lodge their complaint before 1 May 2015. In such "particularly distressing cases" it is still possible to lodge a complaint. An independent team of experts assesses the complaint and advises on financial compensation. Every year, the Roman Catholic Church will issue a report, in which it accounts for the measures taken in order to prevent further sexual abuse and to keep the issue a subject of discussion.

Settlement

A number of victims did not want to follow the entire complaints procedure. They were offered the possibility to settle their complaint in an out-of-court settlement. They had to sign a statement of confidentiality, which possibly caused the loss of supporting evidence for other victims. That is why Mr Deetman called on the Roman Catholic Church to lift the duty of confidentiality.