The Spanish Parliament Wants to Open an Investigation Into Abuses in the Church

February 07, 2022
Dolores Delgado

Each year, Spain registers thousands of complaints of sexual abuse of minors. Only 15% of abuses are reported and investigated, but the Attorney General's office intends to fully investigate only those committed within the Catholic Church in recent years and decades.

According to data from the Ministry of the Interior, between 2019 and 2020, a total of 11,838 complaints were filed for sexual offenses involving minors as victims. This data represents only the tip of a large iceberg, as it is estimated that only 15% of childhood sexual abuse is reported.

The family background stands out with nearly half (49.5%) of the cases where the most frequent abuser profiles are found: the father, another unidentified relative, the mother's male partner, the grandfather, or uncle.

Outside the family environment (34.5% of cases), 9.7% are friends or colleagues of the victim, 8.6% of cases are known to the family, and educators are responsible for 6% of cases.

It seems that the attorney general's office, headed by government appointee Dolores Delgado, who has served as justice minister, has nothing better to do than open some kind of general case against the Catholic Church for the abuses committed by priests and religious.

Ms. Delgado has ordered the 17 regional prosecutor's offices to transmit, within 10 days, all the files being processed concerning sexual assaults and abuse of minors committed by members of the Catholic Church.

This decision by the department headed by Dolores Delgado coincides with the stand taken by the lawyers of the Congress of Deputies, who have shown themselves in favor of admitting the Unidad Podemos, Esquerra republicana and EH Bildu initiative aimed at creating a congressional commission of inquiry.

After the request from the allies of the government coalition, the Spanish government, led by Socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, decided to play an active role in the fight against sexual abuse within the Catholic Church, authorizing the Legislative Assembly to set up a commission of inquiry.

The government's move comes after the Spanish bishops refused to launch their own investigation.

The Spanish episcopate has highlighted the fact that each diocese in the country already compiles its own information. The bishops proposed to instead focus attention and resources on listening to and accompanying victims, inviting them to report their allegations to the Church or civil authorities.