Estimates reveal that over 400,000 individuals in Spain have suffered childhood abuse in cases associated with the Catholic Church, as reported by Spanish media. A significant milestone was reached with the initiation of Spain's first official investigation into abuse perpetrated by clergy and individuals connected to the Catholic Church.
Ombudsman Ángel Gabilondo spearheaded this groundbreaking effort, which hinged on a demographic survey in which more than 8,000 people actively participated, as outlined in Madrid's "Pais." The comprehensive report submitted by the ombudsman to the House of Commons, a year and a half following the request from Congress, refrained from specifying an exact figure.
However, the survey results indicated that approximately 1.13 percent of Spain's adult population, which amounts to nearly 39 million residents, admitted to suffering abuse by members of the clergy or individuals connected to the Church during their childhood.
In accordance with "Paisa's" calculations, this 1.13 percent translates to approximately 440,000 people, accounting for the 38.9 million registered inhabitants in Spain in 2022, ranging from 18 to 90 years old, as covered by the survey.
Furthermore, within this 1.13 percent, approximately 0.6 percent, which equates to around 233,000 individuals, reported experiencing abuse at the hands of priests or other devout members, with the remainder involving laypeople.
The GAD3-conducted survey, administered by a reputable public opinion polling agency in Spain, maintains a margin of sampling error for all respondents at plus or minus 1.1 percentage points. This momentous report by the ombudsman serves as an earnest endeavor to unveil a deeply concealed issue and censures those who could have done more to prevent such abuses.
The commission's findings underscore the inadequacy of the Catholic Church's response to cases involving clergy. It has been recommended that a state fund be established in collaboration with the Catholic Church to provide reparations to the victims.
Spain's revelations join a series of abuse scandals that have shaken the Catholic Church globally, often involving minors, over the past two decades. The findings in Spain mark a pivotal moment in addressing this long-standing issue and seeking justice for survivors of childhood abuse.