Swiss Catholics Will Compensate Child Sex Abuse Victims

A Catholic church in Switzerland. A new commission from the Church offers compensation to victims of historic sex abuse. Kim Jenssen Photography/ Facebook

A new commission has been launched by the Catholic Church in Switzerland that will award financial compensation to victims of sex abuse by Swiss priests.

The Swiss Bishops Conference (SBK) announced in December announced its new 500,000 franc reparations fund that would compensate sex abuse victims who could no longer seek it via the courts, according to The Local.

The new commission will study requests for compensation, awarding up to 20,000 francs for the most serious cases, it was announced on Tuesday. 

In 2010 the Swiss Catholic Church accepted responsibility for various cases of child sex abuse and molestation.

From 2010 to 2015, 223 victims came forward to the Church alleging abuse they had experienced between 1950 and 1990. Of these, 49 said they were younger than 12 at the time of the abuse. Figures also revealed that there had been 205 perpetrators in the 40-year period. However a 2015 report suggested found that since 2010 only 20 criminal investigations had been launched.

John Bonnemain, speaking for the SBK, said currently only a few priests are facing conviction in the Swiss justice system because so few victims have come forward.

Bonnemain said that anyone who wanted to appeal for compensation from the new commission should do so by going first to their local diocese, which would then pass on the request to the commission.

'Each time the Church finds out about cases it encourages victims to press charges,' he said.