This article belongs to And That's the Way It Is column.

The phenomenon of priests, clerics and other religious sex offenders is, by all accounts, more like an epidemic rather than the occasional occurrence and as to ensure that justice prevails, victims of these parasites must be extremely careful as to not make statements and/or participate in actions that may lead to religious sex offenders getting away with committed crimes.

Here are some guidelines as to some of the processes to follow keeping in mind that laws and legal processes may be different in various countries.

First of all, victims must carefully consider as to what offences were committed against them in terms of names, times, dates, circumstances of the offence and other specific details relating to the alleged offence.

Victims should consult their/a lawyer and discuss the alleged offences with that lawyer. He/she may well advise as to processes to follow in relation any possible further recommended action. Under no circumstances should victims consult or negotiate with church or religious officials during the initial stages as attempts may be made by such officials, as they have been on numerous occasions in the past, to conceal alleged offences. It must be remembered that, in most countries, the concealing of a criminal offence is a crime and that church or religious officials engaging in concealment or damage control practices may in fact be committing a criminal offence.

Once a victim has established a potential case against an individual or individuals, the next step is to proceed to police and/or prosecuting authorities. Again, keep accurate dates, times and other details in relation of complaint lodgement ensuring that your lawyer has those details as to ensure that the complaint is actually proceeded with in the appropriate manner.

Again refuse contact with church or religious officials who may attempt to get victims to take a 'church route' rather than a criminal accusation one. Again, interference with proper prosecuting processes is a criminal offence, by that time the offences would the concealing of a crime as well as perverting the cause of justice.

Once a person is charged with alleged offence, ensure that the charges are proceeded with through the legal processes.

During the court proceedings be guided by your legal representatives as to ensure that proper processes are followed.

Do not make 'out of court' settlements with church officials as you want offenders jailed, not walking the streets.

Once the court decides as to a guilty or innocent verdict, you may follow further steps.

Should the alleged offender be found guilty, you may proceed with legal processes as to damages.

Again, your lawyer should be able to guide you but given the nature of these kinds of offences, damages claims are often substantial.

In cases whereby church and religious officials have been trying to hide the offences by shuffling people around, as they recently did in Ireland and other places, insist the those responsible are charged with the appropriate offences of 'attempt concealment of a crime' and 'perverting the cause of justice'.

Remember also that 'church processes', are mostly designed as to avoid criminal proceedings, and 'non-disclosure' agreements are, in most countries, illegal in cases whereby major criminal offences are involved. As such, don't sign any non-disclosure agreements'.

There have been cases whereby offenders have been relocated to third countries as to avoid criminal proceedings. International agreements are in place as to return alleged offenders to the places where alleged offences have been committed.

Victims and their lawyers should insist upon such international processes taking place when the offender may be located in another country.

So there you have it.
These processes are not pleasant but in order to rid society of people whom, from a position of trust, then abused those who trusted them, they are necessary.

My name is Henk Luf.
And That's The Way It Is.