An Australian group representing sexual abuse victims has welcomed Pope Benedict XVI’s decision to step down, saying he has done little to stop “the reign of terror of child rapist priests.”

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) issued a statement on Monday, calling for the next Pope to provide more assistance with the probes into sexual abuse cases.

“Victims welcome the resignation of a church official with immense power who has done so little to stop the reign of terror of child rapist priests,” said Nicky David, the group’s spokeswoman.

Earlier in the day, Pope Benedict XVI, the spiritual leader of Catholics, said he intended to resign from his position on February 28 since he is no longer able to carry out his duties due to old age.

Davis went on to say, “In the eyes of many victims, Joseph Ratzinger has personally done much to add to the huge number of victims and exponentially increase the suffering of those already harmed.”

The Vatican has recently come under the spotlight over accusations that it had hidden sexual abuse of children by priests to protect pedophiles and its own reputation.

Davis added, “It is high time the head of the Catholic Church ceases to hide child sex crimes behind a facade of diplomatic immunity dependent upon specious claims to be a sovereign state, not a religious institution.”

Also in Ireland, a group representing victims of child abuse in Catholic-administered institutions welcomed Pope Benedict XVI’s decision to quit after “he promised a lot but delivered nothing.”