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The Protestant Church in Germany has decided on a new direction for the participation of victims in the processing of sexualized violence. In the present form, a continuation of the reappraisal is suspended.
After the resignations of several members from the affected persons advisory board, which was founded almost half a year ago, and a request for dissolution from within the body, the previous concept had failed, the EKD announced in Hanover on Monday evening.
Evaluate work externally
The plan, he said, is to initially suspend the work of the previous panel and evaluate it externally in order to better incorporate the perspective of those affected in the future. On the basis of the evaluation, new forms of participation should be discussed together with the original members of the victims' advisory council.
"The participation of those affected in coming to terms with sexualized violence is central and indispensable for the Protestant church.
We hold to this. In the current situation, however, it has become clear that the previously chosen form of participation has reached its limits. This is extremely painful for all involved," said the spokesman for the Council of Commissioners, Bishop Christoph Meyns of Braunschweig.
"It is therefore all the more important that a close examination is now carried out: What circumstances led to the resignations? What have we also done wrong? Which structures were helpful, which hindered? Based on the answers and experiences, we want to look forward in a solution-oriented way," Meyns said.
Participation of victims remains important
In order to continue to advance the ongoing processes of reappraisal and prevention at EKD level during the transition, participation of affected parties will reportedly be ensured with the help of an interim solution.
The decision for a reorientation was preceded by several discussions between the EKD's Council of Representatives for Protection against Sexualized Violence and the former and remaining members of the Advisory Council for Victims of Sexualized Violence. However, no consensus could be reached on how to proceed.
Since the panel was constituted in September 2020, a total of five members of the twelve-member panel had resigned.
In addition, there were internal conflicts between the members of the Affected Persons Advisory Council. In the end, the Council of Representatives had deemed it impossible for the committee to continue its work.
The externally conducted evaluation is expected to be completed this year and, in addition to a sound analysis, will provide insights for future successful structural stakeholder participation at the EKD level.