How the Catholic Church continues to fail child abuse survivors | Bolt Burdon Kemp How the Catholic Church continues to fail child abuse survivors | Bolt Burdon Kemp

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How the Catholic Church continues to fail child abuse survivors

I am a solicitor specialising in child abuse cases and this sometimes results in me pursuing the Catholic Church.

The issue

Child abuse is abhorrent, regardless if you are TV star or a priest or a family member.

I have had a number of personal difficulties however in dealing with cases against the Catholic Church.  I direct you to a recent case that I settled against them.

The issue with the Catholic Church, more than any other organisation or faith that I have been against, is their lack of compassion and their overly aggressive nature.  In the abovementioned case, there were a number of allegations that raised particular concern:

  • To allege a 15 year old boy consented to his family priest (who was in his 60’s) performing sexual relations?
  • To allege the same 15 year old may have been experimenting even though he had girlfriends at the time and has had never had another sexual relation with a man?
  • To allege the fact that this boy continued to see the priest indicated consent?

These allegations all fly in the face of psychiatric opinion that holds the power imbalance and process of manipulation and grooming often results in individuals “letting” offences to take place and this can continue even after they have reached the age of 16.  It is this same manipulation and grooming process that frequently prevents victims of child abuse from reporting the assaults for a number of years, if ever.

The solution

I have listened to Pope Francis for a number of years discuss the Vatican’s need to expose and to finally deal with child abuse.

At the same time, I have seen firsthand how the Pope’s words are merely that and that the church continues to treat survivors with the same disdain as they always have.  It appears as clear as day that the church cares more about their own priests rather than survivors of child abuse.  In my view, protecting the Vatican’s money and reputation can never be worth more than addressing the needs of a survivor of child abuse.

My most recent case against the Catholic Church resulted in my client losing his religious faith and the case has also had a substantial impact on my faith as well.  The need to acknowledge and to appreciate the impact that child abusing priests continue to have on society is crucial and it is important for the Catholic Church to understand how they continue to fail survivors of child abuse.

I refuse to stand by while survivors of childhood abuse continue to be treated with such disdain by the Catholic Church.  The time for words has come and gone – it is now time for the Catholic Church to listen to child abuse survivors and to appreciate the impact that child abuse can have on their lives.

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