More than 50 priests defrocked over abuse claims

A Catholic priest holds communion. Credit: Reuters

The Catholic Church has defrocked 52 priests in England and Wales since new rules were put in place to combat clerical sex abuse over a decade ago.

The National Catholic Safeguarding Commission (NCSC) statistics were revealed as the commission said there were 81 child protection allegations made last year - a leap from 59 in 2012.

The number of parishes without a safeguarding representative grew between 2012 and 2013 from 88 to 126, the commission said, possibly due to concern over increased paperwork associated with the role.

New procedures to protect children and vulnerable adults in the Catholic Church in England and Wales were implemented in 2001.