More than 4,800 sexual abuse victims were found in the Catholic Church of Portugal

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It was revealed on Tuesday by an independent commission looking into the sexual abuse of minors in the Catholic Church that there were at least 4,815 victims who had cases of abuse documented.

The commission, which was established by the Portuguese Episcopal Conference to look into recent abuse, stated that this was just the tip of the iceberg.

The commission's president, child psychiatrist Pedro Strecht, delivered the report and stated that its goal was to "give voice to the silence" of victims.

He expressed gratitude to the many people who got in touch with the staff to offer testimony.

They have names and voices, he declared.

The commission recorded 564 experiences of individuals who claimed they had been abused by priests or other Church officials in total. In the exercise, cases from 1950 were examined.

The estimate of thousands of additional victims is based on the fact that testimony in many cases indicated that other minors had also been abused.

Mr. Strecht emphasized the effect the abuse had on the victims by quoting their testimony throughout his presentation. He referred to the "black hole" that one victim claimed to have been living in.

Bishop of Leiria-Fátima José Ornelas is the president of the Portuguese Episcopal Conference and is scheduled to speak later.

On Sunday, he stated that he had received the report "with gratitude" and that a special meeting would be held on March 3 to discuss how to best provide "justice" to the victims.

The commission reports that 25 cases in total have been forwarded to public prosecutors. Many other cases were past their deadline.

The report suggests, among other things, that the current rule allowing victims of alleged sexual abuse of minors to file a criminal complaint up until the age of 25, even if the statute of limitations is in effect, be increased to 30.

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