The Ombudsman, Ángel Gabilondo, has delivered to the General cuts -on day 2 the same will be done with the Government- the report on sexual abuse committed by members of the Catholic Church to minors. In his presentation to the press, Gabilondo has called for reparation for the victims, many of whom, he has assured, have seen “their lives devastated.”
The survey that accompanies the document, carried out by Gad3 among 8,000 people, produces a devastating result: 0.6% of the population over 18 years of age claims to have been a victim of sexual abuse by a priest or religious. This represents approximately a “very significant” figure that could exceed 200,000 people.
Gabilondo has explained that not all religious establishments and organizations have cooperated to the same extent but he has insisted that he does consider that they have realized that “the biggest scandal would be not to collaborate.” The majority have chosen to develop prevention procedures but have shown more reluctance when it comes to providing information about the cases that have occurred. He is confident that there has been a change of attitude in the Church and insists that “the victims cannot wait any longer.” The abuse investigation unit has personally interviewed 457 victims who have provided their testimony.
In this sense, the Ombudsman’s report proposes the creation of a state fund to cover the compensation that corresponds to the victims. In this fund, the Church should make a significant contribution. “It is inevitable that the Church collaborates,” said Gabilondo, who has left the approval and articulation of the fund in the hands of Parliament. The Ombudsman also proposes holding a large public event to recognize the victims and asks the Church to allow access to the data included in its archives as well as the possibility of proceeding with a reform of canon law.
Ángel Gabilondo has insisted that the drama of abuse “has been possible because there was silence on the part of those who could have prevented it and did not do so.” “This report,” he added, “responds to what the victims want, they are the first, central and ultimate meaning of it. They want to be heard and cared for.”