(Stephan Ackermann, Bishop of Trier attends a news conference on the launching of a telephone hotline for victims of sexual abuse, in south western German city of Trier March 30, 2010. (Text reads: “victims of sexual abuse”) REUTERS/Johannes Eisele)

Germany’s Roman Catholic Church has shut a national hotline for victims of sexual abuse by priests because demand for it has dropped since the peak of the scandal in 2010, the bishop overseeing the project said.

The Church plans to continue studying clerical sex abuse and is in contact with potential research partners after sacking the criminologist it originally hired for an independent report on the issue, Bishop Stephan Ackermann told journalists.

Hotline director Andreas Zimmer said his service was flooded with calls when it opened in March 2010 but they soon fell off and only about a dozen a month were made in the second half of 2012. It handled 8,465 calls in almost three years of operation.

“The hotline closed down at the end of 2012,” Ackermann said on Thursday in Trier, according to his statement distributed by the German Bishops Conference. “For some time, the falling demand no longer justified keeping it open.”