The commission estimated that 10,000 to 20,000 minors were sexually abused while in the care of Catholic institutions such as orphanages, boarding schools and seminaries, between 1945 and 1981, with offences ranging from the very mild to the serious, including rape. After 1981 there were few church-run homes for minors.
It also said that from the end of World War II until 2010, “several tens of thousands of minors were subjected to mild, serious and very serious forms of inappropriate sexual behaviour in the Roman Catholic Church”.
But it said sexual abuse was no more prevalent in Catholic institutions than in similar ones run by other groups.
“Sexual abuse of minors is widespread in Dutch society,” the commission said.
Abuse by Catholic priests, laymen and laywomen was systematically covered up by the church to protect its reputation, the commission said, adding that the church was guilty of “inadequate supervision” and “inadequate action”.