At a Glance
In 2014, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child and the Committee Against Torture undertook a review of issues related to the commission of sexual violence, and sharply criticized the Vatican; the Vatican is overdue in submitting its next report to both Committees. In May 2013, the ICC prosecutor declined to open a full investigation but indicated that the office would reconsider upon submission of new evidence. In the meantime, CCR and survivors are pressing the United States Department of Justice to open an investigation into the widespread sexual violence crimes and cover-up by the church hierarchy.
Ongoing revelations of pervasive and serious sexual violence against children and vulnerable adults by priests and others associated with the Catholic Church in different parts of the world have demonstrated that the crisis is not one of isolated random sexual assaults by errant priests but is widespread and systemic. In the wake of scandals around the world, experts and investigators have identified policies and practices of the Vatican and high-level officials of the Catholic Church that have covered up and enabled the sexual violence to continue. Some observers have estimated that the number of victims of sexual violence by priests and clergy occurring over the past three decades is in the hundreds of thousands, particularly as more survivors come forward and civil authorities begin investigations in Latin America, Africa, and Asia. CCR represents the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests in filings before the International Criminal Court, the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child and the United Nations Committee Against Torture. The work continues CCR's history of fighting sexual and gender-based violence and ensuring accountability for rape as a form of torture, and as a war crime and crime against humanity.