SPAIN’S prime minister wants to launch the first nationwide official investigation into the full extent of sexual abuse committed by Roman Catholic clergy.

Pedro Sanchez wants Spain’s ombudsman to oversee the investigation after church authorities themselves chose to hush up the issue.

In December Spain’s Episcopal Conference ruled out compiling their own nationwide comprehensive report and instead said it would set up commissions at diocese level to hear complaints from abuse victims.

“The victims can not be silenced,” Sánchez wrote on Twitter later Sunday. “It is time to heal our wound and prevent it from happening again. Committed to not letting the abuses committed in Church go unpunished.”

According to a report in El Pais, which handed over a dossier to Pope Francis in December cataloguing abuses of 1,237 victims by priests in Spain over a 75-year period, the ombudsman Angel Gabilondo of the socialist party would be joined on the commission by two MPs, one each from the PP and Podemos parties.

The move comes days after Sanchez met with Alejandro Palomas, a writer who has gone public about the abuse he suffered.

It also comes a week after Spain’s Attorney General, Dolores Delgado, 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 this 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.

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