A report by an independent commission has revealed that one in five Dutch children who spent time at Catholic institutions have been sexually abused.
A report by an independent commission has revealed that one in five Dutch children who spent time at Catholic institutions have been sexually abused.PA

A report by an independent commission has revealed that one in five Dutch children who spent time at Catholic institutions have been sexually abused.

The long-awaited document suggests that Catholic officials failed to deal with the widespread abuse at Catholic schools and orphanages in order to "to prevent scandals."

Based on a survey of more than 34,000 people, the report suggests that one in 10 Dutch children suffered some sort of abuse whilst staying in a Catholic institution, with the number doubling to 20 percent of children who have spent part of their youth in one - whether they were Catholic or not.

The commission was set up last year by former government minister Wim Deetman with the aim to investigate allegations of abuse in the Dutch Catholic church dating back to 1945.

It began work in August 2010 and received 1,800 reports of abuse at Catholic institutions, which it referred to as "a failure of oversight."

The probe was triggered after allegations of sexual abuse at a school in east Netherlands, echoing similar scandals around the world which has plagued the Catholic Church.

The Dutch brand of the Catholic Church set up a system to compensate the victims of abuse with payments of up to £88,000 (€105,000) depending on the severity of abuse.

The commission identified 800 priests, brothers, pastors or lay people who have been maed in the complaints, with around 100 of them still alive. The report referred to these as "perpetrators" rather than "offenders," as it is not proven that they committed any offence.

29 percent of the Dutch population of 16 million identified themselves as Catholics in 2008, makinig the biggest religion in the country, according to according to the Dutch Central Bureau for Statistics.