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Independent report on sexual abuse within the Spanish Catholic Church

  • November 2023

On 27 October 2023, Spanish Obusman, Ángel Gabilondo, handed in to the President of the Spanish Congress a 779-page report on sexual abuses in the Spanish Catholic Church. The report was the outcome of an independent commission presided over by Gabilondo and requested by the Spanish Congress of Deputies on 10 March 2022.

The document, entitled “Report on sexual abuses in the context of the Catholic Church and the role of public authorities. A needed response”, estimates the percentage of Spaniards who were victims of sexual abuse by the clergy as minors in around 0,6% of the respondents, which extrapolated to the whole population is around 234.000 people. Drawing on a survey among 8000 people, the report also shows that 1,13% of the respondents had been a victim of sexual abuses committed by Church members (be they ordained or lay people). Extrapolating this percentage to the whole population would mean that at least around 440.000 people suffered from this type of abuse. This extrapolation of these figures to the general population was rejected by the president of the Spanish Episcopal Conference after the release of the survey results. However, the reactions to the report within the Church are not uniform and some leaders are keener on supporting further procedures than others.

Among other measures, the report demands the public recognition of the damage inflicted, that the Church makes the necessary institutional changes, and it proposes the creation of a state-funded reparation fund for the victims. It also recommends the provision of professional support to the victims as well as prevention measures.

In a country where the Catholic hierarchy has often denied or downplayed the existence of abuse scandals and has been very reluctant to collaborate in the investigation, the report opens a door for the wrongdoings of the institution to receive much more public attention.

For the complete report (in Spanish), click here.
For a summary of the report (in English), click here.

D 14 November 2023    AJulia Martínez-Ariño

CNRS Unistra Dres Gsrl

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