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the process of reparation for the victims of priests begins

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Is this finally the real start? The Independent National Authority for Recognition and Reparation (Inirr) presented on Wednesday 1er June, its composition, functioning and criteria for financial reparation for victims of sexual violence inflicted by priests. This body was created by the Conference of Bishops of France (CEF) in November 2021, following the publication of the report of the Independent Commission on Sexual Abuse in the Church (Ciase), which had estimated 216,000 the number of people who have been sexually assaulted by a priest or a religious during their minority. But if the Recognition and Reparation Commission (CRR), which takes care of the victims of religious, is in place, the Inirr has somewhat struggled to get started.

Read also Article reserved for our subscribers Sexual abuse in the Catholic Church: the damning inventory of the Sauvé commission

Its president, Marie Derain de Vaucresson, admits that this delay may have caused “impatient”. “But we are building something new, which has no equivalent in France, which is different from a legal process while referring to concepts of law and psychology, argues this part of the Ministry of Justice. It is therefore necessary to establish the framework of our intervention from the start. »

People who wish to contact the Inirr will be taken care of by a “situation referent”. The commission has eight, employees or volunteers, who are lawyers, psychologists, mediators. This referent will collect information and expectations, will assess the “likelihood” of the facts by contacting, if necessary, the ecclesial organization concerned, and will accompany the victim to formulate his requests for recognition – of the facts committed and of his victim status – and compensation for damages.

This reparation can in particular be financial. Like the CRR, the Inirr has decided that it could go up to 60,000 euros per person. “The maximum amount is in the very upper range of civil justice compensation, indicates the Inirr. It is higher than the maximum amounts granted by most of the commissions set up in Europe. » To assess the amount, the Inirr has set up a triple gravity scale. One concerns the nature of the facts, the second the behavior of the Catholic Church in the specific case, the third assesses the seriousness of the consequences that sexual violence has had in the person’s life.

Read also: Article reserved for our subscribers Child crime in the Church: the bishops commit to compensating the victims

The request is finally submitted to a college made up of ten volunteers – magistrates, lawyers, psychologists and educators specialized in helping children. Sitting among them is Jean-Luc Souveton, a priest himself a victim who helps other abused people. If the college validates the request for reparation, it sends it to the Selam fund, created by the episcopate, which settles the sum.

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