17 June 2015
The Dutch Catholic church plans to offer other victims of sexual abuse, whose cases have not been formalised, some form of compensation, the Volkskrant reports on Wednesday.
The committee investigating the abuse has determined that 250 cases are not proven, mainly because there were no other complaints about the priest concerned.
The new ruling has been prompted by a statement in parliament by the head of the complaints commission two years ago.
Wiel Stevens said at the time he had no doubt that most of the rejected complaints were also true. The rules then did not allow any compensation payments to be made to those victims.
The committee has processed 1,100 claims of abuse out of around 1,900 complaints and over 800 have been declared proven. In total, almost 600 people have received €17.5m in compensation, the Volkskrant says.
Dutch church victims to get payouts based on level of abuse suffered
Support group Hulp Recht says scheme offers greater awards to victims of paedophile Catholic priests than going to court
11 November 2011
Riazat Butt, religious affairs correspondent
Friday 11 November 2011 19.08 GMT
Last modified on Tuesday 20 May 2014 20.01 BST
A group set up to help victims of paedophile priests in the Netherlands has defended a scheme that calculates compensation according to the level of abuse suffered, saying the amounts awarded will be far higher than if individuals were to pursue cases through the courts.
Hulp Recht, which has strong links with the Roman Catholic church, devised the system to offer speedy settlements without people having to resort to costly and lengthy legal procedures. Bishops have agreed to the tariff and the settlements are funded by the church.
But the scheme, which offers €25,000 (£21,400) for single or multiple acts of rape and €100,000 for “excessive sexual abuse”, has angered some of the hundreds of people affected by the scandal.
Jan Brenninkmeijer, from Hulp Recht, said: “You can get compensation through the courts, but most of the cases are against people who have died or the abuse happened a long time ago.
“So what we tried to do is work out what someone would get if they went to court. We’ve had negative reactions from victims who say money is not enough, but money will never be enough.
“But when you compare our system with the US one, where there is a claim culture, we don’t have this habit. What would a judge say? We are looking at these cases as normal abuse, not church abuse. What compensation would a judge give to someone who had been abused by a teacher? It would be rare for a judge to award this level of compensation.”
Earlier this week, an independent commission, which looked at physical and sexual abuse cases as far back as 1945, said financial assistance was not enough and that the church must provide practical support as well.
Brenninkmeijer said about 2,000 people had come forward saying they were victims of clerical abuse and that around 600 of these had made formal complaints. Half of this number would get compensation, he added.
“The other cases are difficult to prove because it is one person’s word against another. They need to prove there has been sexual abuse. With the larger sums of money, they would have to prove there had been lasting damage.”
Dutch media reported that a representative of Klokk, an organisation representing the victim groups, revealed the packages would only cover a fraction of legal costs already incurred by some.
Guido Klabbers, from Klokk, told the Guardian: “The level of practical and financial assistance is insufficient and the definition of abuse is too narrow. We are looking for the moral compensation, it is not our mainstream desire to have financial compensation.”