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Pope signs new Vatican law to prevent child sexual abuse

Pope Francis sits with hands steepled.
Photo: Andreas Solaro/AFP/Getty Images

Pope Francis signed new legislation on Friday intended to protect children from sexual abuse in the Vatican, Vatican City and around the world, Reuters reports.

Why it matters: Cases of child sexual abuse were previously managed on an ad hoc basis despite the fact that allegations have surfaced for years that priests — and even Vatican leadership — sexually abused children. The changes would require superiors and coworkers to report allegations of abuse, punish those who do not report findings when they become aware of allegations, and offer assistance to victims and families, according to the IB Times.