The working group led by the Ombudsman, Ángel Gabilondo, to investigate cases of sexual abuse in Catholic institutions in recent decades has just made its first assessment. In its two months of life, the Victim Assistance Unit (UAV) has treated 201 victims, according to information released by the institution on Tuesday.
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Of the total number of victims attended, most of the complaints are filed by men. The office created by Gabilondo has received 167 men and 34 women. "The registered testimonies have been collected by telephone, by email, by post or through the website of the Ombudsman," they point out from the institution. And they add: "Of all the victims, 67 have been interviewed by the specialized technicians of the UAV."
In relation to this first balance, Gabilondo assures that the work team he is “satisfied with the pace of arrival of the testimonies and with the number of victims who have addressed” them. Although he emphasizes that "what really" "cares and worries them, more than the number, is listening to the victims and doing it with respect, seriously, discreetly and confidentially." “Victims who decide to contact us can count on it. And, from there, prepare a report with considerations, proposals and suggestions that will be transferred to Congress”, he pointed out.
The Ombudsman's team to investigate this matter is divided into "three areas of action": an advisory commission of experts, a forum for dialogue with the victims' association and the Victims' Assistance Unit (UAV). This last organization is the one that has been working until now attending to the victims.
This Tuesday the expert advisory commission met for the second time, which has analyzed the progress that the UAV has been making in these two months. This group is made up of 17 external advisors who belong to the professional or academic field with experience in caring for victims, with legal knowledge and in victimology. They are joined by the Ombudsman's first deputy, Teresa Jiménez-Becerril, and the second deputy, Patricia Bárcena. The commission is led by Gabilondo.
In March, Congress commissioned this institution with the mission of investigating pederasty in Catholic institutions. The mandate was approved by all groups in the House, except Vox. To establish contact with the victims, this institution has enabled a section on its website to serve those affected, who may also contact the commission by calling the freephone number 900 111 025, the email address [email protected] or the address by postal mail (Ombudsman. Calle Zurbano, 42. CP: 28010, Madrid).