The head of an independent investigation of child molestation in churches in France on Tuesday (2/3) said that there may have been at least 10,000 victims since 1950, AFP reported. believe.
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(Photo: Mr. Jean-Marc Sauve)
Jean-Marc Sauve, who heads the Independent Commission on Sexual Abuse in the Church (CIASE) set up by the Catholic Church, said the previous estimate last June was about 3,000 victims. “Definitely an underrated.”
“This number could be at least 10,000”, He added during the press conference, providing updates on the committee’s work.
A hotline set up in June 2019 for victims and witnesses to report sexual abuse received 6,500 calls in the first 17 months of operations.
“The big question for us is ‘how many victims dare to stand up’? 25%, 10%, 5%, or less? ”Sauve told reporters.
In November 2018, the French bishops’ conference agreed to form the commission after large-scale and repeated child abuse scandals shook the Catholic Church at home and abroad.
This move caused a mixed reaction from the welfare associations for the victims at that time. On the one hand, they welcomed the effort to encourage victims to speak up, but on the other hand, they also questioned whether the perpetrators of the crime were charged.
In response to the commission’s new estimates, some victim associations said they suspect even 10,000 is a bummer.
Veronique Garnier from the Trust and Recovery team said: “That’s the tip of the iceberg, it’s definitely more than that.”
Jean-Pierre Sautreau, head of a group of victims in the Vendee region in western France, said: “10,000 is a lot, but it’s the lowest statistically possible. We are far from the truth ”.
The Commission, comprising more than 20 selected characters in the legal, academic and medical fields, was initially scheduled to release its final report by the end of 2020, but has set a new deadline of September this year.
Sauve said the final report will draw “broad conclusions” to answer questions of concern to the community.
In May 2019, Pope Francis enacted global rules for reporting sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, requiring all dioceses to establish abuse reporting systems for the first time. The rules require all Catholic dioceses around the world to have a system of “public and accessible”.