French Bishops approve payments for child sexual abuse victims

The Catholic Church in France announced on 9 November that abuse victims will receive financial compensation, following similar moves in Germany, Belgium and Switzerland.

French Bishops voted at The Bishops’ Conference on 9 November in favour of a plan to offer payments to people who were sexually abused when they were children by French members of the Catholic clergy. It was agreed the church would make one-off payments to each victim. The payments are not a substitute for compensation and are not a requirement of the French legal system or the church.

A statement produced after The French Bishops’ Conference set out that each Bishop would get in touch with known victims to offer a single lump sum payment.  The figures are yet to be confirmed. The Catholic Church in Germany has so far paid victims €5,000 (£4,300).

Members also voted to allocate 5 million euros (£4.3 million) to an independent commission investigating church sex abuse in France and to support prevention efforts.

At present Church officials do not know how many people will be eligible for the payments but an independent commission looking into sex abuse by members of the Catholic clergy over the last 20 years in France has collected testimony from 2,800 victims.

The president of the French Bishops’ Conference, Eric de Moulins-Beaufort, said that the payments will recognise victims’ suffering and “the silence, negligence, indifference, lack of reaction or bad decisions or dysfunction within the church.”


Catherine Davey, Associate, BLM 

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