Over 100 reports of sexual abuse in childrens homes
More than 100 reports of sexual abuse have been reported to a commission looking into sexual abuse of children in care in the Netherlands.
The commission was set up two months ago by caretaker Youth Minister Andre Rouvoet and Justice Minister Ernst Hirsch Ballin, after it emerged last spring that children who had been placed in Roman Catholic institutions by the Dutch authorities had also been subject to abuse.
The Samson Commission, headed by Attorney General Rieke Samson-Geerlings, has called on victims to keep reporting sexual abuse. A telephone line has been opened to receive the complaints. The commission is looking into cases of sexual abuse of minors in youth institutions, children’s homes, and foster care from 1945 until the present day .
The commission has also been in touch with the Deetman Commission, which looked into sexual abuse in the Catholic church during the same period. The Deetman Commission uncovered over 900 cases.
Some of the cases reported to the Samson Commission are precluded from prosecution by lapse of time, but others are recent. The cases have been reported by victims, parents, and other people involved. The commission is not investigating whether the reports of sexual abuse are true. Any cases which can still be taken to court are passed on to the Public Prosecutor.
The Samson Commission says reports of cases of sexual abuse are "vitally important". The commission is charged with finding out how the abuse could have taken place in children’s homes and foster families. It also has to establish whether the authorities were aware of cases and how it dealt with them. It is expected to present its final report in 2012.
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