Sexual abuse in the Church – more than 1,000 paedophile priests’ victims come forward in four years
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    Sexual abuse in the Church – more than 1,000 paedophile priests’ victims come forward in four years

    Between 2012 and 2015, 418 victims of sexual abuse commited by men of the cloth have come forward say centres established by the Catholic Church, and also a further 628, the Arbitration Centre opened at the request of the Commission Spéciale du Parlement pour le Traitement des Plaintes pour Abus Sexuels (Special Parliamentary Commission for Sexual Abuse Complaints-handling) states. During this period, the ecclesiastical authorities have given 3.9 million euros to such victims, it emerges from a new report written by Manu Keirse, Professor Emeritus of the KULeuven (University of Leuven) and President of the Commission Interdiocésaine pour la Protection des Enfants et des Jeunes (Inter-diocesan Commission for the Protection of Children and Youths) which will be presented this Monday (today) in Brussels.

    To deal with victims’ complaints, the Church has itself put in place reception centres, which are spread across Belgian dioceses and religious congregations, as well as a central information point where those wishing to make a complaint are assisted to do so.  

    Victims of crimes which are statute-barred, who cannot take legal action have also been encouraged to come forward through public appeals. “Just because the legal time-limits for these crimes have passed, does not mean that these crimes are a thing of the past for victims,” Manu Keirse asserts.

    Alongside these various reception centres, at the request of the Special Parliamentary Commission for Sexual Abuse Complaints-handling, in collaboration with ecclesiastical authorities, the Arbitration Centre has created a pastoral link. This provides an alternative for victims who have lost all faith in the Church.

    Over four years, and by means of these various reception centres and information points, 3.9 million euros has been paid to victims.

    Lars Andersen (Source: Belga)