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Dutch Catholic Church Sex Abuse Compensation Packages: Payoffs for Every Abuse Level

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By Stoyan Zaimov, Christian Post Reporter
November 7, 2011|3:12 pm

The Catholic Church in the Netherlands released a statement on Monday and said it will be setting up compensation panels where victims of sexual abuse can receive up to $138,000 in damages.

The Dutch Religious Conference reached an agreement and the Lindenbergh Commission recommended the Dutch Bishops Conference after the move. It is estimated the effort could cost the Church close to $6.8 million.

The Commission has separated the compensation packages according to five levels of abuse. The least severe incidents will award $6,800 for inappropriate sexual remarks, up to $34,000 for rape, and exceptional cases of violent assault, including gang rape, will be eligible for $138,000. The Commission determines the levels and the decisions are final.

Sexual abuse scandals are still rocking Catholic churches worldwide, and the move is seen as an effort to start putting some wrong things right. Groups representing the victims have met the announcement with mixed responses. Some have stated they are pleased with the decision, while others are saying they were left without answers for too long.

Radio Netherlands reported that a representative of Klokk, an organization representing the victim groups, revealed the packages would only cover 15 percent of legal costs, which for many is far from enough. Furthermore, members of the organization expressed their worry that the experts who will be reviewing each victim’s case and placing them into a category of abuse may not be impartial.

The Dutch government has received almost 2,000 reports of sex abuse in the Catholic Church since the 1970s, which has over 4 million members.

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The compensation packages are likely to be awarded next month, which at most can be seen as a step forward towards proving some relief to the victims and their families. The psychological damages suffered by a number of those abused, however, may prove too severe for any amount of money to make better.

 

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