Child abuse in Dutch Protestant institutions 'needs investigating'

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Sexual abuse in Dutch Protestant and non-religious residential institutions should be investigated, says the former chairperson of the Dutch residential institutions association Guido Wiersma in evening newspaper NRC Handelsblad.

Wim Deetman, who led a preliminary investigation into sexual abuse in Roman Catholic institutions, presents his plans today on how to proceed further with the inquiry.

Mr Wiersma, however, thinks it is important to expand the Deetman investigation. "To assess the situation properly, you need to know how things were done elsewhere," he says. Mr Wiersma confirms that sexual abuse also took place in non-Catholic residential homes, and mentions cases in at least three towns in the 1970s and 1980s.

In recent months, NRC Handelsblad and Radio Netherlands Worldwide received 350 complaints of sexual abuse in Catholic residential centres and parishes. In comparison, only five reports were made about abuse in Protestant or non-religious institutions.

On Friday, the Protestant parish of Bussum received a letter from a woman who says she was abused as a girl by two parishioners. The parish of Bussum has apologised and offered help. The two parishioners mentioned in the letter have died since the abuse took place.