A visitor looks at artifacts made by church abuse victims displayed at the first public gathering of Italian clerical abuse victims, in Verona, Italy.

Verona - Italian victims of sexual abuse by Roman Catholic clergy are appealing to declare such abuse a crime against humanity.

They launched the appeal on Saturday during the first ever public gathering of victims of clerical abuse in Italy.

Organiser Salvatore Domolo, a former victim and ex-priest, says they are looking abroad for solidarity because justice for paedophile victims is hard to come by in Italy because its statute of limitations of 10 years.

He says the fact victims are only meeting face to face now in public shows that something is changing in Italy, a country reluctant to confront the Vatican in its own backyard on any issue. - AP