7% Of Catholic Priests Have Been Accused of Sexually Abusing Children

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Pope Francis kisses the statue of baby Jesus as he arrives to lead the Christmas night mass in Saint Peter's Basilica at the Vatican December 24, 2014. REUTERS/Max Rossi

World-first data from the Catholic church has revealed seven per cent of priests are accused child sex abusers.

The shocking figures coincide with the Royal Commission Into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse’s 15th and final public hearing on the church, beginning in Sydney on Monday.

This is the first time in the world Catholic church records on child sex abuse have been analysed for public consideration, and it covers church records from to 1950-2010.

More than 20 per cent of the members of some Catholic religious orders — including Marist Brothers and Christian Brothers — were allegedly involved in child sexual abuse, the hearing was also told.

In her opening address, counsel assisting the royal commission Gail Furness , SC, said a survey revealed 4,444 alleged incidents of abuse between January 1980 and February 2015.

Ms Furness said 60 per cent of survivors attending private royal commission sessions reported sexual abuse at faith-based institutions.

Of those, almost two-thirds reported abuse in Catholic institutions.

The average age of the victims at the time they were allegedly abused was 10 for girls and 11 for boys.

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