Ash Wednesday is a very symbolic day for Christians, since it represents humility and acceptance of people’s mistakes and sins. Carlos Olabarri, director of the Commission for the Protection of Minors and Prevention of Sexual Abuse of the Diocese of Bilbao, has taken advantage of this day to ask forgiveness from all the victims of sexual abuse who have reported to the commission.
According to reports presented by the diocese, more than 50 victims have reported sexual abuse since 2019, leading to the opening of 32 files. Most of the cases involve religious groups, both congregations and diocesan priests.
The diocese works closely with the Prosecutor’s Office of the Basque Country and accompanies victims who wish to report abuse through the courts, although some complaints are time-barred. In addition, free psychological support is offered to all complainants, including those residing in other provinces. The diocese recognizes that there are more victims who have not yet reported and encourages them to do so in order to receive help and justice.
Escapa, one of the members of the commission, explains that although some of the alleged abusers are deceased, information is provided to all victims, and they work with religious orders in appropriate cases. The diocese is committed to continuing to fight against abuse and supporting victims as they heal and recover.
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