Spain’s Attorney General, Dolores Delgado, has ordered 17 regional chief prosecutors to send details of current judicial probes into child sex abuse by the Catholic Church.

The regions have been given until the end of next week to send their dossiers to Madrid.

Dolores Delgado’s instruction is that all criminal investigations involving abuse and the Catholic Church must be reported, as well as any complaints that have not reached the courts.

Her purpose is to find out how many such cases exist and to look at the reasons behind them as well as the current status of any probes.

The findings will be used to establish the full extent of church abuse which currently does not exist.

The government said in a statement that Delgado’s office, which is independently-run, was acting ‘within the scope of its autonomy and competences’.

“These actions do not replace the measures that the government is considering in order to clarify the facts and avoid further cases,” the statement continued.

Delgado’s order came as the lower house of Spain’s parliament, Congress, approved a motion on Tuesday to set up its own investigation into abuses by the Catholic Church.

The measure proposed by government coalition partner Unidas Podemos and a group of small parties, was opposed by the Partido Popular and far-right Vox party.

Prime Minister, Pedro Sanchez, is scheduled to meet a victim of abuse this week.

The Catholic Church announced last month that it would set up commissions at diocese level to hear complaints from abuse victims, after Spanish church leaders met with the Pope.

The move came after a journalist from the El Pais newspaper handed over a dossier to Pope Francis in December which took three years to compile.

It catalogues abuses of 1,237 victims over a 75-year period.

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