After France and Italy, it is the turn of the Church in Portugal to publish a report concerning sexual abuse committed by its members
Newsroom (26/02/2022 08:00, Gaudium Press) The Church in Portugal decided a year ago to commission an independent investigative commission to study cases of sexual abuse by its members from 1950 until 2022.
The investigation commission composed of six experts and coordinated by the child psychiatrist, Pedro Strecht, presented its report Monday, February 13. In all, 512 direct victims were heard and the accounts were validated.
The numbers in the report
From these victims, the commission arrived at an estimate of 4,800 total victims of abuse by members of the Church from 1950 to 2022.
The study estimates that the average age of the victims was 11 years old at the time of the act, and that today the victims average 52 years old.
Most of the victims are male (52%) and from all parts of Portugal, especially Lisbon, Porto, Braga, Santarém and Leiria. The head of the commission explained that the worst years were between 1960 and 1990.
The study shows that during the commission many people told for the first time about their childhood abuses. Most of the crimes happened in seminaries, colleges, sacristies and parish houses.
Although the total number of abusers was not revealed, it is estimated that 96 % were men and 77 % were priests at the time of the act. Some of the abusers are still active, explains the study.
In 27% of the cases, the abuse lasted for more than a year. Furthermore, 25.8% of the victims say that they have distanced themselves from the Catholic religion. Seven cases of suicide were registered among the victims.
The Portuguese Bishops’ Conference (CEP) has convened a general assembly presided by Bishop José Ornelas, on March 3rd. The meeting will take place in the city of Fatima and the prelates will analyze the results of the report and propose preventive measures to avoid new cases. (FM)
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