A first sense of closure in the abuse crisis

As the year draws to a close, and the final report from the Deetman Committee comes ever closer, the abuse crisis reaches a first form of closure, Kerknieuws reports. The first fifty victims of sexual abuse by Catholic religious or clergy are now able to request financial compensation. Their cases have completed the entire process and have been deemed open to financial compensation according to the five categories I discussed here earlier. If a victim decides to apply for the compensation, a board of five lawyers will decide in which category their case falls and the amount of money, ranging from 5,000 to 100,000 euros, they will receive. The victims in questions were abused as minors and have completed the entire legal process established over the course of the past year. Dozens more victims will soon be notified of the completion of their process.

The fact that we have now reached this stage, is due to the focus on swiftness that the Deetman Committee has been pressing for. In their judgement, they deemed that a swift handling of these cases, some of which are about things that happened many decades ago, would be more beneficial to all involved than, say, a focus on the height of the financial compensation. Hence the five-tier structure of compensation, which has caused raised eyebrows in some quarters.

Victims are not obliged to make use of the structure now in place, but they are free to do so. And it seems that many indeed want to. Some people have been leading their lives with this trauma weighing heavily on them, that I can imagine that this recognition and compensation is a tremendous relief and remedy.

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I'm a 36-year-old lay Catholic from the diocese of Groningen-Leeuwarden. I write about the Catholic Church in the Netherlands. I not only enjoy bringing selected developments to the attention of readers, but I also think that it is sometimes important to allow a wider audience to read about the state of the Church in the Netherlands. That's why a fair number of posts about that topic will be translations of Dutch articles, episcopal writings and whatever else.

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