Miguel Hurtado

SAGE Member

Spain

Miguel Hurtado

Miguel was abused as a sixteen year old boy by the religious brother who was responsible for the scouts Catholic group he was attending in the Abbey of Montserrat, the religious heartland of his native Catalonia. When he reported him to his superior, instead of contacting law enforcement they covered up the crime. When he was ready to press charges, after receiving therapy, the criminal statute of limitations had run out.

In 2019, he went public with his story appearing in the Netflix documentary Examination of Conscience, a groundbreaking investigation about the clergy sex abuse scandal in Catholic Spain. Afterwards, an additional eleven victims of his abuser corroborated his story. An internal investigation acknowledged that his perpetrator had been a sexual predator who abused children over three decades.

Based on his experience of being let down by the criminal justice system, he started a change.org campaign to reform the criminal statute of limitations. After delivering 567,000 signatures in Parliament, in June 2021 the Spanish government amended the criminal code to give survivors of child abuse 17 additional years to sue. Based on his experience, he has the strong conviction that only a well-organized survivor's movement can put enough pressure on governments to ensure they change their legislations to eliminate the arbitrary barriers such as statutes of limitations that stop victims from having effective access to criminal and civil justice remedies.

In February 2020 he published his biography, The Silence Playbook, narrating his journey from victim, to survivor, to human rights activist. He currently lives in London and works as a Consultant Child Psychiatrist for the National Health Service.