The recent results from an independent investigation in Belgium showed systematic child abuse by the Roman Catholic clergy in the country. But what can the European Union do about it?
In March 2010 the European Commission adopted a proposal for a new Directive on combating sexual abuse, sexual exploitation of children and child pornography. Many serous forms of sexual offences against children are criminalised, including sex tourism. More importantly, the proposal would ensure that abused children have easy access to legal remedies and do not suffer for participating in criminal proceedings. The proposal also foresees the establishment of special programmes for offenders to prevent them committing new offences, and prohibitions imposed on them from carrying out activities with children.
In the light of the results from the investigation in Belgium I believe that this proposal deserves serious consideration and priority treatment.