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French Catholic Church agrees to compensate victims of child sex abuse

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By Euronews  with AP, AFP
The news was announced by Catholic Bishop Eric de Moulins-Beaufort, president of the Bishops' Conference of France.
The news was announced by Catholic Bishop Eric de Moulins-Beaufort, president of the Bishops' Conference of France.   -   Copyright  Thomas Coex, Pool via AP

France's Catholic Church has agreed to financially compensate victims of child sex abuse.

Bishops said they would set up a national body responsible for compensating victims of sexual violence on a case-by-case basis.

Eric de Moulins-Beaufort, the president of the country’s Bishop Conference, told the annual meeting in Lourdes that the Church had taken a "decisive step" in recognising its "institutional responsibility".

The Church had decided to go "on a path of recognition and reparation that paves the way for victims to get the possibility of mediation and compensation," Moulins-Beaufort said on Monday.

The announcement comes one month after a report revealed large-scale child sex abuse within the French Catholic Church.

An independent commission estimated that around 330,000 children were sexually abused over 70 years by priests or other church-related figures.

An estimated 216,000 people were abused by priests and other clerics, and others by church figures such as Scout leaders and camp counsellors.

The report also described a "systemic" coverup of abuses and urged the Catholic Church to respect the rule of law in France.

"We felt disgust and horror inside us when we realised how much suffering so many people had lived and were still living," Moulins-Beaufort said.

The committee would be chaired by a lawyer Marie Derain de Vaucresson, a former children's ombudsman, he added.

French bishops have also asked Pope Francis to help them "by sending someone" to "examine" the way they treat child sex abuse cases.