Considering the number of victims who are coming out and speaking up, sexual abuse in religious institutions is nothing new. For about nearly 200 victims of child sexual abuse by priests or other church representatives in France have been awarded monetary compensation as part of a reparations scheme by the Independent National Authority for Recognition and Reparation (INIRR).
Despite being in a sacred and holy position, some church leaders still engage in sexual activity and some abuses, especially on minors. This pressing issue is currently being addressed as multiple congregations are being forced to compensate for these physical and mental damages.
France Provides Assistance and Compensation to Victims of Sexual Abuse in Church Institutions
According to a report in Fox News, The report also stated that 11 other victims received other types of reparations, and hundreds of other cases are still awaiting review. Over 1,180 victims of priests or other church representatives have come forward since the INIRR was established.
While the remaining clients wait for their cases to be reviewed, around 404 are currently receiving assistance from the INIRR. According to the INIRR director, 68% of claimants were men and 32% were women. Furthermore, 40 people won the maximum amount of $63,386 while 80% of the funds awarded thus far are higher than $21,128.
The majority of those who came out and spoke to the INIRR had been victims of rape, with 60% of those receiving financial compensation having been raped once or several times. Furthermore, in 58% of the cases, the abuses continued for over a year. The report also stated that the abuse happened in various locations and agendas, such as schools, at the abuser's home, catechism classes, youth organizations, and other situations.
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Financial and Other Reparations to Support the Victims
Stéphane, a 52-year-old victim of child abuse by priests, is one of the 201 individuals who have received financial or other reparations from France's Catholic Church under a nationwide effort launched last year to address widespread and long-hidden abuse. According to the Washington Post, reparations may include non-financial support, such as help for victims to write down their stories or to organize meetings with local church representatives to help their mental well-being.
Some victims have even asked that a plaque be put up in their honor. The INIRR is also in favor of the request to rename a plaza that bears the name of an archbishop who actively covered up sexual abuse.
According to another source, ABC News, In 2021, it was reported that an estimated 330,000 children in France had been sexually abused over a period of 70 years by priests or other church-related figures. The Catholic bishops' conference in France has agreed to provide reparations for these victims. The French Catholic Church was urged to uphold the law in France after the report revealed an "institutional" cover-up by church leaders. Each case is forwarded to a separate fund established by the church for payment after the INIRR approves the monetary settlement.
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