The law was the first step after the meeting held at the end of February on the protection of minors, which was attended by the heads of the Episcopal Conferences, including Bishop José Luis Mumbiela Sierra.
It is difficult to call this document revolutionary, as it concerns the Vatican, where there are very few minors due to the fact that the state is small, and its inhabitants are mainly priests who, as is known, do not have families. But it also extends to the Vatican`s diplomatic missions worldwide.
In the press in recent years, the topic of inappropriate attitudes to minors on the part of the clergy has been widely discussed. And despite the fact that the victims, according to the news Agency “Reuters”, considered the last meeting as a simple repetition of previously given promises, Anne Barrett Doyle of the U.S.-based abuse tracking group “BishopAccountability.org” rightly observed: “Laws that make even one child safer should be applauded.” She called the signing of the three documents “a baby step in the right direction.”
The main tenets of the new law relate to the obligation to report cases of abuse of minors and the related procedure, more careful selection of staff, for subreption such facts through dismissal, fines and imprisonment, as well as assistance to victims of such acts and their families.
The document is aimed at preventing violence not only against children, but also, as noted by VaticanNews, against vulnerable adults, whom the document defines as persons in “a state of infirmity, of physical or mental deficiency, or of deprivation of personal liberty.”
In addition, “VaticanNews” reports that “the law also establishes a statute of limitations period of twenty years, which for crimes against minors begins on his or her eighteenth birthday.” The issue of the confidentiality of victims and their families, which is necessary to protect them from retaliation or intimidation, has also been touched in this document.
It is important to note that a “Victim Support Service” has been established to provide medical, psychological and social services to victims.
Cover photo from www.vaticannews.va.