Some 190 victims of child sexual abuse by priests or other church representatives have so far been promised financial compensation by the French Catholic Church as part of an extensive reparations programme, the independent body in charge of the trial said on Thursday.
A report from the Independent National Authority for Recognition and Reparation, or INIRR, says 11 other people have received other types of reparations. Hundreds of other cases are still awaiting review.
More than 1,180 victims of priests or other church representatives have come forward to seek compensation since the body was set up, Marie Derain de Vaucresson, head of the INIRR, said at a news conference. You said 32% were women and 68% were men. Of these, 404 are now receiving support from the INIRR, while most are waiting for their cases to be examined.
Derain de Vaucresson said 80% of the amounts awarded so far are more than $21,128, including 40 people who received the maximum amount, set at $63,386.
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Most of those who contacted INIRR reported “very serious” crimes, he stressed, adding that 60% of those who received financial compensation had been raped one or more times. In 58% of cases the abuses continued for more than a year. They happened in schools, the attacker’s home, catechism class, youth organizations and other situations, the INIRR said in a report.
France’s Catholic bishops’ conference agreed to provide reparations after a 2021 report estimated that some 330,000 children had been sexually abused over 70 years by priests or other church-related figures in France. The estimates were based on broader research by the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research on child sexual abuse.
The report described a “systemic” cover-up by church officials and urged the French Catholic Church to respect the rule of law in France.
Once the INIRR approves the financial compensation, each case is sent to a special church-funded fund for payment.