Church offers 5,000 euros to child abuse victims
Germany's Roman Catholic Church on Thursday offered 5,000 euros in compensation to victims of child abuse, a figure dismissed as 'stingy' by victims' representatives.
Germany's Bishops' Conference said 5,000 euros would be offered although in some cases the figure could go higher.
"In especially serious cases, other payments are possible," a statement said.
It said it had already informed a government panel set up to combat child abuse concerning the plan and victims were invited to file claims from March 10.
Dioceses and religious orders were already paying for the cost of therapy for victims and the church would set up a 500,000 euros fund to finance abuse prevention programmes, the bishops said.
The church had said last September it intended to compensate victims but had not set a figure for claims.
Germany's Jesuit order and the Benedictine Abbey of Ettal in Bavaria have already proposed compensation of 5,000 euros per victim.
However an association representing victims, the Eckiger Tisch (Square Table), denounced the compensation scheme.
"It is shameful," a "stingy" offer, spokesman Matthias Katsch told German media,.
The group says the level of compensation should be 80,000 euros per victim while an ally of Chancellor Angela Merkel, the Liberal party's Christian Ahrendt has backed a minimum 25,000 euros payout.
Germany has faced revelations over the past year that hundreds of children were physically and sexually abused in institutions throughout the country, all but a handful run by the Roman Catholic Church.
The Church in Germany has said it failed to investigate properly claims of abuse and that in some cases there was a cover-up, with paedophile priests simply moved elsewhere instead of being disciplined and reported to the police.
It has also faced accusations of foot-dragging on reparations for victims, most of whom suffered their abuse several decades ago, too long ago for criminal charges to be brought.
© 2011 AFP