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What happens when a victim of child sex abuse comes forward to a priest? Is the victim encouraged to report the crime to authorities?

Since this may occur outside the confessional would a priest be free to report the crime to authorities? Or are there confidentiality protocols in the church that prohibit a priest who learns of CSA through counseling session from reporting the crime?

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    The seal of confession would only apply to perpetrator, not the victim.
    – Null
    Jul 10, 2023 at 14:04
  • @Null. Still are there confidentiality protocols in the church that prohibit a priest who learns of Csa through counseling session from reporting the crime?
    – Kris
    Jul 10, 2023 at 14:08
  • Are you assuming that the accused person is a priest? Or just a member of the public? Jul 10, 2023 at 19:49
  • @DJClayworth not a priest The perp could be anyone for the sake of this question
    – Kris
    Jul 10, 2023 at 19:55
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    As far as I know, the seal of confession applies to all information that a priest knows (only) from someone's confession --- whether the "someone" is the perpetrator, victim, bystander, or just some random person. It even applies to incidental information separate from any sin confessed; if I mention in confession that some company is about to go bankrupt, the priest can't use that information to sell his stock in that company. Jul 11, 2023 at 16:08

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What happens when a victim of child sexual abuse comes forward to a priest?

Nowadays, after notifying the local ordinary (bishop), that some sexual allegations have been made, the local police are to be immediately notified.

In 2007, the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a series of protocols for the dioceses to follow, which among other things advised bringing in police immediately to deal with abuse accusations, rather than handling them internally at first. - Catholic Church sexual abuse cases in Canada

Many other countries and dioceses have similar policies in place nowadays.

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