A seemingly small but rather interesting development in the Diocese of Haarlem-Amsterdam. On its website I read the report that several victims of abuse outside the Church have reported to the diocesan committee on sexual abuse. Said committee is, of course, only qualified to investigate the offenses committed within the Church, but the three people who have now com forward report abuse within the context of the family, school and scouting. The reason given by the victims to engage the diocese despite the fact that the abuse was committed by non-Church workers is that they recognise the diocese as a clear place to go and in it they experience an oppenness which is yet lacking in society.
The diocese will help the victims in question on their way to the right aid agencies.
It sounds like the Church’s desire to be open, honest and thorough is bearing fruit. It is perhaps also a sign that the problem of sexual abuse in the middle part of the 2oth century has never been limited to certain contexts, such as the Church; rather, it is a wider social problem which society as a whole needs to tackle. Let’s hope that the actions of the Church now are a first step and example.