What does Church law say about mandated reporting of sexual abuse to civil authorities?

Vos estis lux mundi” — Pope Francis

“These norms apply without prejudice to the rights and obligations established in each place by state laws, particularly those concerning any reporting obligations to the competent civil authorities.”

“Instruction on the Confidentiality of Legal Proceedings” — Pope Francis

“Professional secrecy does not preclude the fulfilment of the obligations established in every place by state laws, including any reporting obligations, as well as the execution of executive requests by civil judicial authorities” and “The person making the report, the person claiming to have been offended and witnesses may not be bound by any obligation of silence regarding the facts of the case.”

“Circular Letter” — CDF

“Sexual abuse of minors is not just a canonical delict but also a crime prosecuted by civil law. Although relations with civil authority will differ in various countries, nevertheless it is important to cooperate with such authority within their responsibilities. Specifically, without prejudice to the sacramental internal forum, the prescriptions of civil law regarding the reporting of such crimes to the designated authority should always be followed.”

“Vademecum” — CDF

“Even in cases where there is no explicit legal obligation to do so, the ecclesiastical authorities should make a report to the competent civil authorities if this is considered necessary to protect the person involved or other minors from the danger of further criminal acts. … It is absolutely necessary to avoid in this phase [i.e. preliminary investigation] any act that could be interpreted by the alleged victim as an obstacle to the exercise of his or her civil rights vis-à-vis the civil authorities”

“Policy Statement” — CSAS

“All allegations of abuse against children, reported to anybody working or ministering within the Catholic Church in England and Wales, must be reported to the statutory authorities, within 1 working day, in accordance with national policy and procedure. If a child or young person is in immediate danger this must be reported immediately to the Police ”

“Responding to Safeguarding Concerns or Allegations” — BCOS

“The Catholic Church in Scotland is committed to the mandatory reporting of all allegations of recent or historic abuse made against clergy, religious, Church employees or volunteers to the statutory authorities for investigation. … However, in an emergency situation in which a child or vulnerable adult appears to be at risk of harm, any responsible adult to whom an allegation is disclosed should contact the statutory authorities without delay.”

To Guarantee an Effective Response to Allegations of Sexual Abuse of Minors” — USCCB

“Dioceses/eparchies are to cooperate with public authorities about reporting cases even when the person is no longer a minor. In every instance, dioceses/eparchies are to advise victims of their right to make a report to public authorities and support this right.”

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