The Free party defended today that “asking for forgiveness is not enough” and asked the Church to do more, pointing out that the support announced “was essentially an inconsequential memorial”.
“Asking for forgiveness is not enough and we found out that the support that was announced was essentially an inconsequential memorial; spiritual, psychological and psychiatric support when what was at least expected is that the same value of the investment made in the world youth days would start already the creation of a fund to compensate the victims”, says Livre in a statement.
On Friday, the president of the Portuguese Episcopal Conference (CEP), José Ornelas, sent any compensation to victims of sexual abuse to their perpetrators, indicating that there will be no compensation from the institution.
“As for the support for victims, the issue of compensation is clear, both in Canon Law and in Civil Law. If there is an evil that is done by someone, it is that someone who is responsible, to speak of compensation”, he said, then, Jose Ornelas.
The prelate was speaking at a press conference after the extraordinary Plenary Assembly, which took place in Fatima on Friday, dedicated exclusively to the analysis of the final report of the Independent Commission for the Study of Sexual Abuse of Children in the Catholic Church in Portugal , released on February 13.
Livre says it will monitor various initiatives to tackle crimes of sexual abuse. “We will monitor the initiatives, in the review and extension of the statute of limitations for crimes of sexual abuse, in particular of minors, initiatives to create mechanisms of psychological support and follow-up to the survivors of these crimes, the increase of funding for these supports and the reinforcement of plans for information and the fight against sexual abuse, the creation of permanent support lines and dedicated services in the SNS; articulation with civil society institutions already on the ground, and the creation of a similar multidisciplinary commission to expand the work now initiated to the sexual abuse of minors in the community and, above all, to its prevention”, he notes.
From the perspective of the party represented in the Assembly of the Republic by Rui Tavares, sexual education and information are basic preventive tools for children to be able to “identify, designate and transmit to adults” data to combat abuse.
Livre insisted that the “top criterion” is not to fail “the people who gave their testimony”. “What we all expect is a consequence against silencing and impunity. We will continue to do everything to above all not add empty words to their voices”, concludes the party.
The Independent Commission for the Study of Sexual Abuse of Children in the Catholic Church validated 512 of the 564 testimonies received, pointing, by extrapolation, to a minimum number of victims of around 4,815.
Twenty-five cases were reported to the Public Prosecutor’s Office, which led to the opening of 15 inquiries, of which nine have already been archived, six remaining under investigation.
These testimonies refer to cases that occurred between 1950 and 2022, the period covered by the commission’s work.