Tens of thousands of children have suffered sexual abuse in Dutch Catholic institutions since 1945, a report says.

The report by an independent commission said Catholic officials failed to tackle the widespread abuse at schools, seminaries and orphanages.

Based on a survey of more than 34,000 people, the report estimates that one in five children in Catholic institutions suffered abuse.

Allegations of abuse at a school in the east Netherlands triggered the probe.

The commission began work in August 2010 and studied 1,800 reports of abuse at Catholic institutions. It has identified 800 alleged perpetrators, just over 100 of whom are still alive.

It tried to find out what went on, how it happened and to suggest what kind of justice should be offered to victims, says the BBC’s Anna Holligan in The Hague.

Last month the Dutch branch of the Catholic Church set up a sliding compensation system based on the severity of abuse suffered.

The commission’s findings have been keenly awaited by the Dutch population, 29% of whom are identified as Catholic, our correspondent says.

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