The United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) has requested details from the Vatican on child sexual abuse cases from November 1995 to January 2014.
The information has been requested in connection with the Holy See’s scheduled appearance in front of UNCRC in January. The information requested includes what victim support systems are in place, how perpetrators have been handled, and what steps are being taken toward prevention.
There is some hope that newly appointed Pope Francis will be tougher on sexual abuse than the Vatican has been in the past. When Pope Francis took office in March he said the Church must “act decisively as far as cases of sexual abuse are concerned, promoting, above all, measures to protect minors, help for those who have suffered such violence in the past [and] the necessary procedures against those who are guilty.”
Barbara Dorris, the Outreach Director for the Survivor Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), said in a statement, “We are grateful for this [request] and hope it inspires other international institutions to take similar steps to protect the vulnerable, heal the wounded, expose the truth and prevent more heinous crimes… This step by the UN’s Committee on the Rights of the Child is encouraging. We hope the Vatican will respond on time and in good faith. And we hope other secular authorities will begin to find the political will to put the safety of innocent, vulnerable children above the comfort of complicit Catholic officials.”