Catholic Church: So Far 40 Million Euros For Abuse Victims

Globe Echo [London, England]

February 2, 2023

The Catholic Church has so far paid out around 40 million euros to victims of sexualised violence. In the past two years, a commission processed more than 1,800 applications for recognition services.

A commission set up by the Catholic Church in Germany has so far approved more than 40 million euros in so-called recognition benefits for victims of sexualised violence. In 2021 it was almost 13 million, in 2022 around 28 million. This was announced by the Independent Commission for Recognition Services (UKA) in Bonn.

In 143 cases, sums of more than 50,000 euros were awarded. In 24 cases it was more than 100,000 euros. This was always done with the consent of the responsible church authorities, emphasized the UKA chairwoman Margarete Reske, former presiding judge at the Cologne Higher Regional Court. She emphasized that there were no problems with any of the 27 Catholic dioceses.

People who have experienced sexualized violence from Catholic priests, for example, can receive payments from the church. The UKA decides on the amount. Those affected do not have to present any evidence, it is sufficient if their descriptions are plausible. Overall, the plausibility has been denied by the UKA in nine cases so far.

Three out of four applications from men

According to the Commission, it has processed 1,839 applications from abuse victims in the past two years. On average, each application accounted for around 22,150 euros. Three out of four applications were made by men, one in four by a woman. However, 20 of the 24 payments over 100,000 euros went to female victims and 17 of 27 payments between 75,000 and 100,000 euros.

The UKA has been active since January 1, 2021. The eleven members are experts from various disciplines who were proposed by a majority non-church committee and appointed by the German Bishops’ Conference. They are free in their decisions.

While the UKA received 1,565 applications in the first year of its existence, last year it was 547. In relation to the dioceses, a particularly large number of applications were submitted last year from Cologne (52) and Münster (51). As for the religious orders, most concerned the Salesians (16) and Redemptorists (15).

Currently 226 applications are still open

Chairwoman Reske emphasized the increased speed with which the UKA is processing the applications. Of the 2,112 applications submitted, around 87 percent had been decided by December 31, 2022. The waiting time is now on average less than four months after receipt of the application in the office.

Reske explained that there are currently 226 applications that could be processed this year. However, it is not yet possible to say whether the work of the UKA has ended because there is still the possibility of objecting to the recognition decision. In addition, it is still open whether other Catholic institutions will join the UKA process.