Dutch Catholic clergy urged to confess child sex abuse online
Victims’ umbrella organisation sets up online confessional on website
The Klokk foundation has set up an online confessional for abusers who want to begin coming to terms with their crimes.
Catholic clergy who have been involved in sexual abuse of children in the Netherlands are to be given the opportunity to confess online, either anonymously or using their real names, in the hope of finding and helping victims not already identified by a government inquiry.
A 1,100-page report last year by the Deetman commission – chaired by former education minister Wim Deetman – shocked the country when it revealed some 800 Catholic priests and monks abused up to 20,000 children in their care between 1945 and 1985.
It said the abuse took place in boarding schools, children’s homes and orphanages, but was not openly acknowledged by the church authorities at the time because of their “culture of silence” and determination “not to hang out their dirty washing”.
Investigators were shocked by the scale of the abuse – in one institution 40 girls under the age of 12 died of abuse, neglect or both over a three-year period in the 1950s – but said they believed there were many untold stories.
The Klokk foundation, an umbrella organisation representing 12 victims’ groups, has set up the online confessional on its website for abusers who want to begin coming to terms with their crimes.