Catholics’ response angers child sex abuse victims

450px-Rosary_2006-01-23
Rosary (Picture: Wikimedia Commons/Daniel Tibi). (Rosary (Picture: Wikimedia Commons/Daniel Tibi))

Victims of sexual abuse by Catholic priests are critical about the Catholic church's plans for a scheme to pay compensation to victims whose complaints were were judged unfounded. Victims feel that the scheme is too much like a quick payoff.

"Many victims are very upset that their complaint is not honored. They can not be fobbed off with a few thousand euros. They want recognition, not just a cash register receipt." Guido Klabbers, spokesperson for victims' association Klokk, told the Volkskrant.

So far the complaints committee of the Reporting Point Sexual Abuse RKK has found 250 complaints unfounded, according to the newspaper. In most cases this was due to a lack of "supporting evidence" - no other victims had filed a complaint against the accused priest. The committee works on the legal principle that no one can be convicted on the basis of a single statement.

This new scheme follows a statement made by Wiel Stevens, the president of the complaint committee, in the Tweede Kamer, lower house of parliament, two years ago. He said that he had no doubt that the vast majority of the rejected complainants were indeed abused. "But the rules do not allow us to declare their complaint well-founded." he said.

According to a draft proposal for the church's new scheme for rejected complainants, it closely resembles the compensation given to victims of excessive violence in ecclesiastical institutions - up to 5 thousand euros per person.  Only the "authenticity of the complaint" will be taken into account.

The proposal also mentions the possibility of victims opening a dialogue with the congregations. Klabbers feels that this dialogue should be the focus of the scheme, not the monetary compensation.

 

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