The Vatican’s recently published new guidelines provide for the doubling of the time limit allowed for prosecution under the statute of limitations, from 10 years to 20. The head of the UK Church’s own Child protection agency says this doesn’t go far enough, as it fails to reflect the long-term effects of abuse. He argues that it should be removed altogether.
UK Catholic child protection agency criticises Vatican
National Catholic Safeguarding Commission calls for abolition of statute of limitations on prosecution of priests over child abuse
The head of child protection for the Catholic church in England and Wales has said the Vatican should remove the statute of limitations on prosecution of of priests for child abuse offences.
William Kilgallon, the chair of the National Catholic Safeguarding Commission (NCSC), argued that the time limit was unhelpful and failed to reflect the long-lasting effects of abuse.
He described the Vatican's recent decision to double the time period from 10 years to to 20 as "better than it was", but said he would have preferred its abolition.
He was speaking at the launch of the NCSC's annual report, which highlighted developments in the protection of children and vulnerable adults.
When asked to comment about the latest guidelines from the Vatican, Kilgallon replied: "It is good the time limit has been extended; my advice would have been to remove any limit. It is better than it was, but I would have preferred to see the removal of limits entirely."
He explained that the church in England and Wales was becoming more aware of the serious impact of abuse, and how the effects persisted with people into their adult lives. Events late in life could trigger feelings and trauma, forcing people to relive their experiences, he told the press conference.