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The Church in Belgium and the protection of Children

· Interdiocesan commission established by the Bishops' Conference is under way ·

. For several days now Belgium's  interdiocesan commission for the protection of children and young people has been operational, set in motion by the Bishops' Conference. Last January with the publication of the document, Hidden Suffering: toward a Comprehensive Approach to Sexual Abuse in the Church, the work “ of recognition and of reparation,” we read in the communiqué from the Bishops' Conference, “for victims of sexual abuse in an  ecclesial or pastoral context”. The document – 52 pages, publishes by the Licap - “is intended to be the response of  Belgian bishops and religious superiors to cases of sexual abuse perpetrated by clerics. It's a strong and moving document which also contains means to reach certain objectives laid out, such as: the will to stand with the victims; breaking the silence; the path to recognition and reparation; not leaving the abusers in peace and ensuring the prevention of future abuse.

In recent months 10 contact centres for victims have started up and  procedures are also in force as proposed by the parliamentary commission. Victims of abuse can present their requests for recognition, redress and economic compensation.  The new commission has several tasks to fulfil: especially, supporting the 10 local contact centres; cleaning up guidelines of behaviour already in use in order to advance the prevention of abuse; guaranteeing an effective collaboration between those responsible in the Church and the social structures which operate in the context of abuse and prevention; drafting an annual report on denunciations presented to the contact centres and concerning the steps taken in every individual case.

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St. Peter’s Square

Sept. 23, 2018

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