Probe into child sexual abuse by the church in Spain fears there are up to 440,000 living victims

A REPORT has revealed 440,000 people could have been victims of child sexual abuse at the hands of Spain’s clergy. 

The findings were presented to the Spanish parliament (Congreso de los Diputados) by Spain’s Ombudsman, Angel Gabilondo, this Friday, October 27. 

It revealed that 1.13% of the living Spanish population, or 440,000 people, were likely victims of child sexual abuse by the Spanish church. 

Based on 100 pages of testimony from 8,000 people, the Ombudsman said of the report: “Victims deserve to be listened to”. 

The probe recommended financial compensation for victims, with contributions from the church and state, citing ‘the silence of those who could have spoken up’. 

Angel Gabilondo, Ombudsman of Spain, presented the report this week. Photo by Guillermo Gutierrez Carrascal / SOPA Images/Sipa USA

The Spanish Epispocal Assembly (La Conferencia Episcopal Española) will meet on October 30 to discuss the report. 

Investigations into paedophilia within the Spanish church have been underway since 2018, when newspaper El Pais began researching the issue. 

During a one-and-a-half hour press conference, the Spanish Ombudsman laid out the impact of the report. He said: “It reveals the devastating impact of abuse on real people.” 

“There are people who have committed suicide because of it, people who can never rebuild their lives.” 

He urged officials to act quickly, saying: “Victims cannot wait any longer. Some have had to make multiple reports, which revictimises them every time. They say ‘please, we want change and reparation.’”

However, the Ombudsman highlighted that he was not pushing for legal reform. He said: “We are not denying the possibility that legal reforms could be made, but it is not our purpose, because it would only lead to a solution many years from now.”

Instead, he urged government and church officials to collaborate in order to give victims answers and ‘reparations’.  


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