Debate on statute of limitations for abuse

The round table is coming, the debate about statutes of limitations in sexual abuse remains: to abolish them, the Federal Minister of Justice again rejected and at the same time attacked the church again. Chancellor Merkel also sees the time for new legislative initiatives has not yet come.

A "broad and intensive discussion is necessary" before the government intervenes, said government spokesman Ulrich Wilhelm on Monday (08.03.2010) in Berlin. First, experts in the relevant ministries should discuss an appropriate course of action. Wilhelm emphasized that child abuse is not just an ie for boarding schools or schools. It is quite generally about the question of how the state can recognize abuse earlier and prevent "wherever abuse happens ". With regard to the discussion about the statute of limitations, Wilhelm said that an extension of the time limits could only be directed at the future. In cases from the past, it is a matter of clarification and reappraisal. The topic is legally demanding and requires careful consideration. Horst Seehofer stressed in favor of extending the deadline. One must not only think about the clarification and punishment of such cases, but also "about the legal basis". Seehofer added: "This should be done with due diligence."

Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger: Catholic wall of silence After forty or fifty years, it is still very difficult to establish facts and find witnesses, Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger (FDP) said on Deutschlandfunk radio. The FDP politician pointed out that under current law, cases of abuse can still be prosecuted up to twenty years after the victim has reached the age of majority. She criticized that there was a wall of silence, especially in Catholic schools, that covered up abuse and mistreatment. Responsible for this is also a directive of the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith from 2001, according to which even serious cases of abuse are first and foremost subject to papal secrecy and should not be passed on to state agencies. Unlike the FDP politician, SPD board member Ralf Stegner questioned the statute of limitations in cases of sexual abuse. "We must succeed in reducing the number of unreported cases and in breaking up the silence that has existed in some cases for decades," the SPD chairman of Schleswig-Holstein told the "Hamburger Abendblatt" (Monday). Therefore, legal statutes of limitations should be reviewed.

Teachers: Do not leave the problem to the churches The German Teachers' Association (DL) called on the ministers of education to appoint special commissioners in all federal states to investigate possible cases. "The ministers of education and cultural affairs have a constitutional duty to quickly uncover cases of sexual abuse in schools and pass them on to the judiciary," DL President Josef Kraus told the Neue Osnabrucker Zeitung newspaper. According to the Basic Law, schools are under the supervision of the state. This also applies to private and church-run institutions, Kraus emphasized. "The problem of abuse of students must not be left to the churches, here the state school administration must also look closely," Kraus continued. Kraus called the move by Education Minister Annette Schavan (CDU) to consult with teachers' associations on measures "pure actionism". He said that the federal minister has practically no legal power in the school sector. "Apart from a few nice headlines, the meeting will bring nothing."The DL president demanded rather a "special meeting of the conference of education ministers still in March, in order to decide a country widely co-ordinated procedure". The chairman of the German Philologists' Association, Heinz-Peter Meidinger, spoke on ZDF's "Morgenmagazin" program in favor of installing a trusted person at each school who is appropriately trained. At the same time, he warned that not all 42.000 schools under general suspicion. There are "certain environments where teachers with the appropriate disposition have the opportunity to be alone with students, such as boarding schools or all-day schools, where the potential for danger is then greater.".

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