The conviction of a former Catholic priest for sexual abuse was applauded by several child protection and Church organisations. Against Child Abuse director Priscilla Lui Tsang Sun-kai said it should serve as an example and encourage other victims of abuse to speak out. 'The first merit needs to go to this victim because he had been consistently trying to seek help,' she said. 'You can see how difficult it was for him. First he went to his family and he went to the Church on a number of occasions, and then police. If it was not for his courage and persistence, this case would never have come out.' The case highlighted the importance of prompt intervention when a victim had the courage to speak out. 'The victim did not immediately disclose [what happened] because of the . . . pain and uncertainty . . . and the community needs to recognise the complexity involved,' Ms Lui said. But she said it may not be the answer to make it mandatory for the Church to report all similar cases in the future. 'If the reporting is mandatory, I think it is unwise because we are not protecting the children,' she said. 'We have come across situations where the children were not protected and it led to further harm.' But Ms Lui said the case involving Michael Lau was one which should have been reported because the victim's frustration in seeking justice added to his pain. In a statement issued after yesterday's verdict, the Catholic diocese said: 'Since we have not yet had the opportunity to study the reasons for the verdict, and since the case has not yet been concluded, we deem it inappropriate at this stage to make public comments.' The director of the Hong Kong Christian Institute, Rose Wu Lo-sai, said the verdict sent out a positive message to encourage more victims to come forward. 'I hope it might be a lesson for the Church hierarchy and the official leaders to study this and to rethink how to deal with the issue of sexual abuse with an open heart,' Ms Wu said. The Church should also give moral support to alleged sexual abuse victims who intended to report to police. 'It is not an easy thing to bring a legal case such as this,' Ms Wu said. 'In case the victim wants to pursue this move, the Church should render support, at least moral support, and give advice and refer it to a neutral organisation, such as the police.' The executive secretary of the Diocesan Office for Laity Formation, Kevin Lai Yuk-ching, said victims of sexual abuse should receive proper counselling, as well as justice.