The official investigation into the sexual abuse of minors in the Spanish Catholic Church follows an investigation launched in 2018 by the newspaper El Pais, which created a database of more than a thousand alleged cases of abuse since then. The first report on the issue was published in 2021.
Angel Gabilondo, Spain's government-level Ombudsman for rights violations, criticized the Church for its attempts to cover up the abuses. "What happened was made possible by this silence," Gabilondo said.
The 700-page report, commissioned by the Spanish Congress last year, is the result of a survey of 800,000 people conducted by the commission.
According to the report, 0.6 percent of the country's adult population, or an average of 39 million people, said they had been sexually abused by clergy as children.
The report also includes the testimonies of more than 487 survivors of abuse.
PROPOSAL FOR A STATE FUND TO PROVIDE COMPENSATION TO VICTIMS
"There are people who have committed suicide [died]... there are people who have never been able to put their lives together," Gabilondo said, adding that the figures should be treated with caution. There is a need to respond to a situation of suffering and loneliness that has been shrouded for years in one form or another by an unjust silence," Gabilondo said.
The ombudsman proposed the creation of a state fund to provide compensation to victims of abuse.
Sanchez: A truth that everyone has known for years but no one has spoken about has been revealed
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said the report's findings were a "turning point" for the country's democracy.
"We are a better country because a truth has been revealed that every person has known for many years but nobody has spoken, at least not in the way we are doing today," Sanchez said.