'Children abused by religious figures are less likely to report crimes because of the belief that community leaders have “automatic morality”, a government report has found.
Child sex abuse survivors have told of their shame, guilt and embarrassment which prevented them from reporting their ordeals, amid calls for an end to the secrecy of religious institutions which they claim enabled abuse.
An official report has now revealed that victims of sexual abuse in religious institutions were less likely to report the crimes at the time than those who had been abused in other institutions such as children’s homes, schools, secure care units and foster care.
The Truth Project, which runs alongside the government’s Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA), invites survivors to share their experiences and make reccomendations for change. Its findings were published today in the first survey of its kind comparing the experiences of abuse among religious institutions.
The report collated responses from 183 people who were sexually abused as children in religious institutions or by clergy or church staff in other settings and found that they were far less likely to report abuse than those whose abuse was linked to other institutions.
Researchers found that those abused in religious institutions were less likely to report the abuse at the time (69%) than survivors (54%) in other institutions.
They also found that victims in almost half of cases (48%) knew of someone else being abused at the time. Participants told the Inquiry that it needs to address the secrecy that comes from the sanctity of religious institutions and the assumption that religious figures are automatically moral.'
Read more: Children abused by religious figures less likely to report crimes because of belief in perpetrators' 'automatic morality', government report finds
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