A special independent foundation overseeing the Dutch Church's response to past clerical sexual abuse has concluded that its programmes have provided victims with "recognition, satisfaction and help" including 28.6 million euros in compensation.
Presenting its final report, it said the programmes set up after a shocking 2011 inquiry into scandals from 1945 to the present had dealt with 3,712 reports of abuse. Of these, 2,062 led to formal complaints that a special panel examined.
In 941 cases, compensation - which was capped at 100,000 euros for the gravest abuse - was paid. Some reports led to offers of psychological treatment for victims, others were turned down as unfounded or inadmissible.
Receiving the report in mid-December, Cardinal Archbishop Willem Eijk of Utrecht said the Church, by establishing the lay-run foundation, "wanted to openly face up to a black page in its history".
The foundation, which handled complaints and compensation as well as dialogue with victims and officialdom, began work after a Church-appointed inquiry found that tens of thousands of children had been sexually abused in Catholic orphanages, boarding schools and seminaries since the Second World War.
The foundation and its subordinate programmes, including a special abuse hotline, closed at the end of 2017. Any new reports of abuse will be handled by a broader Church-run hotline unit set up two years ago.
Cardinal Eijk said the Church had not always responded adequately to the sexual abuse crisis and could offer advice to other sectors such as sports, show business and politics now confronting the problem in their own ranks.
PICTURE: Cardinal Eijk (centre) is pictured with Jean-Claude Hollerich and Joachim Meisner in 2013 ©PA