Thursday, June 3, 2010

Bishops adopt harder line on sex abuse

Jun 2, 2010 - 16:19
Bishops adopt harder line on sex abuse
Switzerland’s Catholic bishops have toughened their stance against sexual abuse in the church by announcing that offenders will systematically be reported to police.
The church had previously said it would only report the most serious cases, and that it simply encouraged victims to file complaints with the police and get help from victim consultation centres.



At a meeting on Wednesday, the Swiss Bishops’ Conference, the highest Catholic body in Switzerland, said that in cases where there are sufficient grounds for suspicion, offenders would now be reported to police as a matter of course.

The Conference also decided that priests would have to have background checks in future before being granted a position in a diocese.

The body also issued new figures of abuse by Catholic priests in Switzerland. Since the start of this year 104 alleged victims have come forward. The cases concern 72 priests.

Nine of the cases took place after 1990 and the remainder date back to 1950-1990. Eleven of the cases involved victims who were under the age of 12 at the time of the abuse.

In March the Conference admitted it had “underestimated” the scale of sexual abuse within churches.

Across Europe, the Roman Catholic Church is facing one of its gravest crises in decades with other cases of abuse being investigated in Ireland, Germany, the Netherlands, Austria and Poland.

swissinfo.ch and agencies

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