Justice for victims of abuse © r.classen (shutterstock)
The debate about a compensation procedure for victims of sexual violence by clergy in the Catholic Church is in full swing. What do similar arrangements look like in other countries around the world?
Austrian bishops already ied a compensation scheme for abuse victims in June 2010. According to the agreement, the "Victim Protection Foundation" is to pay graduated compensation depending on the severity of the assaults suffered. The amounts range from 5.000 and 25.000 euros.
Since 2002, victims of physical abuse or sexual abuse in Ireland's state and church institutions have been compensated in an organized way. The Residential Institutions Redress Board administers the funds provided by the state and church institutions and regulates their distribution. In total, the state and church have provided 2.1 billion.
After an assessment, depending on the severity of the mistreatment or abuse, applicants receive a maximum of 300.000 euros in compensation.
By 2010, 14.753 claims filed; majority of victims awarded up to 100.000 euros in compensation.
In the United States, abuse victims have more extensive options for civil court actions for damages than in other countries. U.S. dioceses and orders have paid more than $2 billion in damages to victims to date. Several dioceses filed for protection from creditors because they were unable to meet the victims' claims for compensation.
By the end of 2010, seven dioceses and the Jesuit order in Oregon had declared insolvency, including Davenport in Iowa, Fairbanks in Alaska, Portland in Oregon, San Diego in California, Spokane in Washington, Tucson in Arizona, Wilmington in Delaware, and Milwaukee in Wisconsin. According to its own figures, the Archdiocese of Chicago alone has paid out around 200 million dollars to victims of abuse since 2000.
1.9 billion Canadian dollars (about 1.45 billion euros) have been set aside as compensation for victims. At the same time, the establishment of the "Truth and Reconciliation Commission" was approved.
In accordance with the recommendations of the National Abuse Commission, the legal basis for a national compensation fund was created in Australia, to which a good 90 percent of all Catholic dioceses and parishes have now acceded. It is estimated that payments to around 60.000 victims of abuse, the equivalent of 2.5 billion euros will be needed. The Catholic Church has to bear about 645 million euros of these costs.