The Chilean government has asked the Vatican to hand over documents related to accusations of sex abuse committed by clergy in Chile against children.

Police have searched Chile's Episcopal Conference - the offices of the church leadership - to look for evidence of accusations made about members of the Marist Brothers religious community.

An ongoing scandal involving accusations of sexual abuse and cover-up within the church in Chile has prompted Pope Francis to begin an investigation that has led to the resignations of several bishops and priests.

Chilean prosecutors have said they are investigating 38 cases of sex crimes committed by clergy and lay people against children and adults.

There are 73 people under investigation and 104 victims, most of whom were minors at the time of the abuse.

Last month, prominent Chilean priest, Oscar Munoz, who held senior positions in the archdiocese of Santiago, was detained over allegations that he sexually abused seven children.

Several offices of senior church figures have been raided as prosecutors search for evidence of accusations of sexual abuse by clergy not reported to the civilian police, and evidence of cover-ups.

The scandal has rocked the church in Chile.

In June, the country's 34 bishops were summoned to Rome by Pope Francis after Vatican investigators produced a 2,300-page report alleging that senior church officials in Chile had failed to act on abuse claims and in some cases hid them.

Pope Francis has accepted resignations by five of those bishops.