SPAIN’S first commission to investigate sex abuses committed by members of the Roman Catholic church was overwhelmingly backed by Congress on Thursday.

The motion to form the commission was passed by an overwhelming majority of the lower house with only the far-right Vox party voting against it.

The inquiry will cover abuse by the clergy, teachers and others associated with the church.

The new body will be headed by Spain’s independent ombudsman, Angel Gabilondo. assisted by a group of experts.

A professor of philosophy and former member of a Catholic brotherhood, Gabilondo was education minister between 2009-11.

He was the PSOE Presidential candidate in last year’s Madrid regional elections.

Prime Minister, Pedro Sánchez, said that the commission is ‘a first step in trying to repair the pain of victims, who had not been heard until now’.

Head of the Unidas Podemos group in Congress, Jaume Asens, said: “The proposed commission of experts will be granted with powers to force the church to cooperate if needed.”

Thursday’s vote came after increasing public accounts of sexual abuse, along with an admission of what has happened coming from some Catholic orders and bishops.

The Spanish Episcopal Conference last month announced it would hire a law firm to do an audit into past and present sexual abuse.

68 cases area currently being investigated by legal authorities in Spain.

With a lack of official figures, the El Pais newspaper has so far uncovered 1,246 victims of sexual abuse over an 80-year period.

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