Slovakia Church publishes report on child protection for the first

Slovakia: Church publishes report on child protection for the first time

The Church in Slovakia has published for the first time a report on the activities of its Child Protection Commission, created in 2018. The publication of the report, which also contains data on reported cases of abuse committed by priests, religious and lay people in religious service to the Church since 1990, aims to clarify the transparency effort and encourage the reporting of previously unreported cases, he said. the president of the Episcopal Conference, Bernard Bober.

The evaluation report has been online since Tuesday on the church's official news portal If the Church wants to make progress in addressing and preventing abuse, “we have to take an honest look in the mirror,” Bober explained.

According to statistics, complaints have been received against 68 church employees related to sexual violence against children and young people since 1990, with the vast majority of complaints made since 2015. According to the report, investigations have been completed and cases confirmed in 39 of them . The report describes a further 5 of the 68 complaints as “closed and unconfirmed” and 7 as unresolved. Investigations are still ongoing in 17 cases.

In the 39 confirmed cases that occurred between 1990 and 2022, there are a total of 44 victims of abuse aged 18 or younger, the majority of them (21) girls. In 31 cases, the perpetrators were priests. According to statistics, the severity of crimes varies greatly, from non-physical sexual violence to penetration.

High number of unreported cases

Of course, the numbers only include cases that have been reported to the Church, as Archbishop Bober emphasized when the statistics were published. “We are aware that the number of victims is certainly much higher,” said the Archbishop of Kosice. Bober expressly encourages anyone who experiences sexual abuse in the church to report it. This also applies to cases where someone knows that crimes committed in the past were not reported to state authorities.

The bishops sincerely regretted “that we have not always taken an active role in resolving crimes of abuse, especially in the past,” Bober continued. Today the Church wants to put into practice the zero tolerance for abuse that the Pope also called for, assured the president of the Episcopal Conference.

(cap – mg)