Law Protection of Minors
Title: Law No. CCXCVII on the protection of minors and vulnerable persons
Author: The Holy Father Pope Francis
Publication: Holy See Press Office
The Holy Father Pope Francis
– recalling the Basic Law of Vatican City State, of 26 November 2000;
– recalling the Law on the Sources of Law No. LXXI, of 1 October 2008;
– recalling the Motu Proprio “In Our Times”, of 11 July 2013;
– recalling Law No. VIII, Containing Complementary Norms on Criminal Matters, of 11 July 2013;
– recalling Law No. IX, Containing Amendments to the Criminal Code and the Code of Criminal Procedure, of 11 July 2013;
– recalling the Convention on the Rights of the Child, concluded in New York on 20 November 1989, ratified by the Holy See, also on behalf and in the name of Vatican City State, on 20 April 1990;
– recalling the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography, concluded in New York on 25 May 2000, ratified by the Holy See, also on behalf and the name of Vatican City State, on 24 October 2001;
has adopted the following
(Scope of Application)
1. The present Law applies to the offences set forth in Title II of Law No. VIII, Containing Complementary Norms on Criminal Matters, of 11 July 2013, as well as to the offences set forth in articles 372, 386, 389, 390 and 391 of the Criminal Code, if committed to the detriment of a minor or of a person considered equivalent to a minor.
2. For the purposes of the present Law, a «vulnerable person» is to be considered equivalent to a «minor».
3. A person is vulnerable when in a state of infirmity, of physical or mental deficiency, or deprived of personal liberty, which, in fact, even if occasionally, limits their ability to understand or to want or otherwise resist the offence.
(Prosecution ex officio and statute of limitations)
1. The offences referred to in Article 1 are prosecutable ex officio.
2. The limitation period for the offences referred to in Article 1 is of twenty years and begins, in the case of an offence against a minor, from his eighteenth birthday.
(Duty to report)
1. Without prejudice to the sacramental seal, the public official who, in the exercise of his functions, knows or has reasonable grounds to believe that a minor has suffered one of the crimes referred to in Article 1, must file a report without delay if the offence has been committed either:
a) in the territory of Vatican City State;
b) to the detriment of residents or citizens of the State;
c) by public officials of Vatican City State or by the subjects referred to in number 3 of the Motu Proprio “In Our Times”, of 11 July 2013, on the occasion of the exercise of their functions.
2. Unless it constitutes a more serious offence, the public official who omits or who unduly delays filing the report referred to in the preceding paragraph shall be punished with a fine from one thousand to five thousand euros. If the offence is committed by an officer or an agent of the judicial police, the penalty is up to six months of imprisonment.
3. Without prejudice to the sacramental seal, any other person, even if wholly extraneous to the facts, who is aware of acts damaging a minor may file a report.
4. If the proceedings concern a cleric or a member of an Institute of consecrated life or of a Society of apostolic life, the Promoter of Justice, having received the report, shall inform promptly the Ordinary or the Major Superior competent for the adoption of the measures provided for by canon law.
For more information visit: http://www.vatican.va/resources/resources_protezioneminori-legge297_20190326_en.html