Amnesty International report finds clerical sex abuse was 'torture'

A religious statue
Image caption The report by Amnesty International follows four major inquiries into clerical sex abuse in Ireland

A report from Amnesty International has said the abuse of children by priests and church-run institutions in Ireland amounted to torture.

The research, which included an opinion poll, was commissioned following the publication of a number of reports which catalogued decades of abuse.

It found that some of that abuse met the legal definition of torture.

The poll showed 84% of those surveyed felt society should have done more to prevent abuse.

The In Plain Sight report was based on four major inquiries into clerical sex abuse in the Republic - Ferns, Ryan, Murphy and Cloyne.

The human rights body said that despite the severity of the crimes reported, few perpetrators had been convicted.

There was, the report said, a 'deference to' and 'fear of' the Catholic Church.

The survey carried out by Red C found that half of those polled felt society would prefer to turn a blind eye to child abuse.

The poll also found a majority believed it was important that children had their opinions taken into account when significant decisions affecting them were being made.

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