The Head of the Catholic Church in Fiji Archbishop Peter Loy Chong says they cannot deny that there have not been victims of abuse in the church and society as a whole and it is now about how they respond and train their people properly to prevent the abuse.
Archbishop Chong says this remains a special concern for them and there must be extra effort to make sure the Catholic Church in Fiji is a church that cares and safeguards people.
He says the Catholic Church in Fiji published its “Guidelines for Dealing with Sexual Abuse” in 2014.
Archbishop Chong says the guideline states clearly that if anyone has suffered abuse by a priest or by anyone working for the Church – then that person should, in the first instance, report the matter to the Police as soon as possible, no matter how long ago the abuse occurred.
He says it also clearly stresses that the Church should not interfere in any with the proper processes of criminal or civil law.
When asked if the Catholic Church in Fiji would be open to carry out an independent inquiry on allegations of historic sexual abuse, Archbishop Chong says the common sense thing would be to do an inquiry but some of these people have passed on.
He says they are educating people about their guideline to deal with sexual abuse.
Archbishop Chong says this year they will be doing another training for young priests who were not around in 2014 when the guideline was promulgated.
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