Catholic Church to receive proposal for financial compensation for victims of sexual abuse

Portugal Resident [Lagoa, Portugal]

February 13, 2024

By Natasha Donn

Group VITA, representing victims, will present proposal imminently

Group VITA – the organisation set up by Portuguese bishops following the country’s ‘child sex abuse scandal’ – has announced it will be presenting the Church with a proposal later this month for financial compensation for victims identified this far.

In a statement marking the one-year ‘anniversary’ of the release of the report that exposed the rot that has been festering within the Church for decades, the group – led by psychologist Rute Agulhas – said that it has already received 71 requests for help, and carried out 45 consultations.

This, of course, is in addition to the hundreds of cases considered by the Independent Commission for the Study of Sexual Abuse of Children in the Catholic Church.

“The majority of the situations reported concern adults who were victims of sexual violence in childhood or adolescence, but there are also situations of especially vulnerable adults,” explains the statement.

According to VITA, there are currently 13 people undergoing regular psychological or psychiatric counselling, with another eight having been referred for this support but only at an early stage of the process.

Describing the first eight months of work as “positive”, the statement refers to the “gradual process of trust” being forged between victims and the Group, which has sought to network with other Church structures. 

The statement also highlighted training already carried out with diocesan commissions, as well as the scheduling of other actions for catechists, teachers of Catholic moral and religious education, teachers in Catholic schools and public schools.

“The Independent Commission’s report was a decisive turning point for the Catholic Church in Portugal which, since then, can no longer claim ignorance of sexually abusive situations that have occurred within its midst”, says the text. “Situations of sexual violence exist in all parts of society, and the Church is no exception.” 

A new statement is expected in June, says Lusa. 

Group Vita can be contacted via telephone hotline (91 509 0000) or via the signposting form, which is now available on

Created in April last year – after the Independent Commission pointed to a minimum number of 4,815 victims of sexual abuse within the Catholic Church since 1950 – Grupo Vita describes itself as “an impartial, autonomous and independent structure” which aims to “welcome, listen to, accompany and prevent situations of sexual violence against children and vulnerable adults in the context of the Catholic Church.