The International Journal of Restorative Justice


Historical abuse in Dutch Catholic institutions: an ex ante evaluation of institutional and non-institutional response procedures

Keywords historical institutional abuse, Dutch Roman Catholic Church, repair, procedural justice, restorative justice
Authors Naomi R.S. Ormskerk, Maarten J.J. Kunst en Nicole L. Immler
Author's information

Naomi R.S. Ormskerk
Naomi R.S. Ormskerk, PhD student, University of Humanistic Studies, Chair Citizenship and Humanisation of the Public Sector, The Netherlands.

Maarten J.J. Kunst
Maarten J.J. Kunst, Full Professor, Institute of Criminal Law and Criminology, University of Leiden, The Netherlands.

Nicole L. Immler
Nicole L. Immler, Full Professor, University for Humanistic Studies, Chair Citizenship and Humanisation of the Public Sector, The Netherlands. Corresponding author:
  • Abstract

      With the disclosure of widespread sexual abuse within the Dutch Roman Catholic Church, victim-survivors demanded justice from Dutch Church authorities and the Dutch state. As conventional approaches, such as criminal and civil law, were deemed to be inept in achieving recognition and repair, new procedures had to be established. The Church initiated several complaint, compensation and mediation procedures. Besides these ‘institutional’ procedures (initiated by the ‘wrongdoer’ itself), a victim-led mediation procedure was developed. This article provides an ex ante evaluation of these varied response procedures in terms of the promise they made to achieve recognition and repair. Their design was assessed through the theoretical lenses of procedural and restorative justice. While the procedural lens shows that there is too little space for the voice of victim-survivors, the restorative lens shows that all responses were too individualistic in design, failing to integrate systemic aspects of the harm done at the institutional, societal and familial levels. These aspects are crucial to addressing the recognition claims at stake.

Please sign in to access the article

Did you receive an activation code but no access yet? Please activate your code here.

Forgot your password? Request new password.

Purchase access

You can purchase online access to this article. You will receive 24 hrs access @ € 17,50 (excl. VAT).

24 hrs access € 17,50 (excl. VAT)

Activate your code

If you have an access code, please activate it here.