A child protection campaigner has claimed the Pope’s announcement of internally reporting child abuse in the Catholic church will not help to prevent the crimes.
Pope Francis has made it mandatory for Roman Catholic clergy to report cases of clerical sexual abuse and cover-ups to the church.
However, child protection campaigner Jonathan West told talkRADIO’s Julia Hartley-Brewer that the only way to stop abuse was to report it to the authorities.
He said: “It’s essentially the church asking for the right to mark its own homework.
“The church has a reputation to uphold and abuse is very bad to its reputation and so if the reporting is only internal, the temptation is going to be overwhelming to find some way of covering the abuse up.”
There is no current law in the UK requiring people to report any child abuse, but a public enquiry is looking into changing this.
Mr West added the idea is to make non-reporting of abuse "unthinkable", so cases can be investigated and abusers can be caught early.
This follows on from criticisms of Prince Charles who reportedly supported Peter Ball, a former bishop who abused 18 young men.
Mr West said: ““The problem is many abusers, those who reach senior positions, are very charismatic people and make people around them believe them.
“Not only are they grooming the victims, they’re grooming their surroundings as well so it’s made unthinkable that they should abuse.”