Vatican officials announced Thursday that Pope Francis has bolstered legislation against child abuse within the grounds of the small city-state. At the same time, a United Nations committee has demanded that the church reveal its procedures for dealing with child abuse allegations.
Though child abuse is already designated as a criminal act, the pope has moved to strengthen Vatican law, making it illegal to sexually or physically abuse children specifically within the Vatican City limits, according to CNN. Hundreds of people live in the Vatican, while millions visit every year. The new law will also broaden the definition of child abuse to include child prostitution and child pornography.
The legal changes were issued in Pope Francis’s first “Moto Proprio” – a directive the pope launches himself, writes Reuters. The pope also announced his intention to increase the Vatican’s support of international laws against crimes such as money laundering and terrorism.
The laws comes as part of an overall reform process started under Pope Benedict XVI and prompted by scandals revealing corruption and ineptitude in the Vatican bureaucracy, reports Agence France-Presse.