The Polish government plans to set up an independent
commission to inquire into cases of paedophilia and their handling by
institutions, including the church, according to a statement released
A bill on the matter was approved by the cabinet, but still requires parliamentary approval and the president's signature. The seven-strong commission would be charged with identifying cases of negligence in combating paedophilia and alerting law enforcement in cases they believe the law has been broken.
Investigations will cover state institutions, churches, NGOs as well as educational, sport, healthcare and cultural institutions, the statement said. Poland's government has acknowledged the lack of a comprehensive system of combatting sex crimes and shortcomings in the handling of paedophilia inquiries in the past.
The new commission will be independent from state authorities. Members of the commission will be selected by parliament, the prime minister, the president and the state children's ombudsman. Candidates are to be submitted by expert bodies, including national chambers of physicians, psychologists, attorneys, prosecutors as well as NGOs.
The Polish debate on paedophilia resurfaced in May, following the publication of a YouTube documentary in which victims talked about sexual abuse at the hands of priests and accused the church of covering up the crimes. Since then, the government has presented an amendment to the penal code that, among others, introduced stricter penalties for crimes of paedophilia.
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