Fault Lines

Secrets of the Clergy

Fault Lines examines how state laws in the US can lead to child sexual abuse in religious communities going unpunished.

Over the past 20 years, religious organisations from the Catholic Church to Jehovah’s Witnesses have had a reckoning with cases of child sexual abuse. Many states have tried to tackle the abuse by making clergy mandatory reporters of abuse to officials, just like doctors, therapists and teachers are. However, more than 30 states in the United States do not require church officials to report knowledge or allegations of child abuse if the information is deemed privileged, specifically coming from confession or counselling. It means that abuse can all too often be hidden – and survivors are left without recourse or justice.

Fault Lines investigates how state laws in the US can lead to child sexual abuse in religious communities going unpunished.

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