In 2012, the House of Representatives put in place an investigation commission called “Sexual Abuse and paedophilia in the Catholic Church” and subsequently an Arbitration Center. The testimonies were collected either by the Arbitration Center, a neutral institution, or through 11 contact points in Catholic dioceses used by those who still had some confidence in the Church.

From 2012 until June 2016, the Arbitration Center identified and opened 628 cases and distributed 3 million EUR to the victims: 449 in the Flemish-speaking community, 178 in the French-speaking community and 1 in the German-speaking community.

121 cases were rejected because the perpetrator was not a priest or because the victim had already been indemnified.

Most of the facts lasted during less than 3 years, and sometimes there was only 1 case of abuse.

4% of abuses of young boys and 10% of abuses of young girls lasted between 8 and 11 years.

3 French-speaking abusers were involved in 3 cases and 1 in 4 cases.

43% of the French-speaking abusers had been in contact with their victims at school and 28% in the church.

67% of the victims who lodged a complaint were between 50 and 69 years old.

In 36% of the cases, the victims were between 8 and 11 years old when they were first abused.

In 44% of the cases, the victims were between 12 and 15 years old when they were first abused.

2/3 of the cases concern male victims.

Financial compensation

The cases of minor victims when the abuses were perpetrated were filed in 4 categories: sexual molestation with use of force or threats, sexual molestation with use of force or threats, rape and other abuses of exceptional gravity. The maximum compensation amounts per category were: 2,500 EUR, 5,000 EUR, 10,000 EUR and 25,000 EUR. For suicides, the maximum possible amount was 7,000 EUR for relatives.

507 cases led to some financial compensation. In 482 cases, the amount was reached through a conciliation process.

1,499,750 EUR were granted to 184 victims of rape.

1,026,251 EUR were attributed to victims of sexual molestation with use of force.

51,250 EUR were granted to victims of sexual molestation without use of force.

7000 EUR were paid to 5 relatives of victims who had committed suicide.


La Libre Belgique, “Abus sexuels au sein de l’Eglise: Trois millions d’euros pour les victims”, 13 April 2017.

La Meuse, “Abus sexuels dans l’Eglise : 3 millions pour les victims”, 12 April 2017.


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