12 Jul 2013

Vatican child abuse laws reformed

7:00 am on 12 July 2013

Pope Francis has strengthened the Vatican's laws against child abuse.

A papal decree issued on Thursday covers 5000 clerics and lay people who work in the Vatican city, even if the offences are committed outside its borders.

Earlier this year, Pope Francis said that dealing with sex abuse was vital to the Church's credibility.

Under the changes, child prostitution, sexual violence, sexual acts with children and indecent images of children will be included in a broader definition of the category of "crimes against minors".

The BBC reports the decree also increases the Vatican's international co-operation in combating crimes, and raises penalties for those who leak official papers.