“Concrete guidelines for action”

The Protestant Church in Germany wants to significantly expand its measures for coming to terms with sexualized violence. A central contact point and new studies on dealing with abuse are planned.

The Diakonie announced its own investigation. The Federal Government Commissioner for Abuse, Johannes-Wilhelm Rorig, called for a swift reappraisal of the matter. The council of affected persons demanded a binding implementation of the plan. Konstantin von Notz, religious affairs commissioner of the Green parliamentary group in the Bundestag, welcomed the action plan of the Protestant church.

According to EKD information, about one million euros are earmarked for the implementation of a corresponding 11-point plan for the coming year. Hamburg Bishop Kirsten Fehrs had presented the action plan to the EKD Synod.

Specific risk factors

Fehrs explained that, from a systemic point of view, the Protestant church has very specific risk factors. These would have to be analyzed more clearly than before in order to address them. In the run-up to the synod, the EKD had formed a five-member council of commissioners. Fehrs is spokeswoman for this new body.

Von Notz told the Catholic News Agency (KNA) that it was right and important for the Protestant Church to actively deal with the individual and institutional processing of the cases of abuse within its own ranks. With the 11-point plan, it has created a concrete guideline for action.

Own diaconia study important

Diakonie President Ulrich Lilie explained that people who entrusted their children and relatives to Diakonie facilities must be able to regain trust. He emphasized the necessity of a separate study for the Diakonie: "The situation of an adolescent in a socio-educational care facility is quite different from that, for example, in confirmation classes, with other factors of power and dependence."

Rorig said in response to a question that it was important that each of the 20 regional churches quickly began to work on the ie. Not only a few regional churches should take on a pioneering role. Like the Catholic Church, the Protestant Church would also have to reach binding agreements with the federal government and possibly also with the states on criteria and standards for reprocessing. These could include, for example, how those affected would be involved in the respective reappraisal processes in the future and how access to files or compensation would be regulated.

"Commitment is missing"

The Council of Concerned Persons, which was based at the council, called for an implication of the points promised in the EKD report. There was a lack of "necessary commitment". This must be made up for as quickly and clearly as possible and secured through a mandate for the Council of Commissioners.

He also advocates a nationwide campaign to show that the Protestant Church is "actively approaching those affected.

Like the Betroffenenrat, the independent Aufarbeitungskommission welcomed in principle the EKD's approach and the EKD's clear commitment to "its own responsibility for the children and youth entrusted to it". The commission stressed that talks were planned between the two major churches and the commission. In addition, the commission is working on guidelines for future reappraisal processes in institutions.

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