Pope Francis has summoned the presidents of Catholic bishops’ conferences worldwide to the Vatican in February to discuss how to stop clergy from sexually abusing children.

The meeting, on February 21-24, is believed to be the first of its kind. Some clergy from the Catholic Church have been carrying out abuse for decades.

An investigation in the United States earlier this year found rampant sexual abuse of more than 1,000 children in Pennsylvania.

The Pennsylvania attorney general released a grand jury report alleging that church leaders protected more than 300 "predator priests" in six Roman Catholic dioceses across Pennsylvania for decades.

The report claimed the church was more interested in protecting its own interests and the abusers than tending to the victims.

 In July, Washington Cardinal Theodore McCarrick resigned amid claims of abuse.

Other clergy sex abuse scandals have occurred in countries including Germany, Argentina, Australia, Ireland and Chile.