“Much too unspecific”

"From the point of view of those affected, in my estimation, nothing has changed with today," says Oliver Vogt. The head of the Institute for Prevention and Reappraisal of Sexualized Violence criticizes the bishops on the abuse ie.

Interviewer: Do you know why it took so long for the bishops to agree on principles for payments to abuse victims?

Oliver Vogt (Director of the Institute for Prevention and Reappraisal of Sexualized Violence): The question of these so-called recognition services and the catch with it covers a very wide range of topics. This is a matter of principle. In the past, there were already clear recommendations from the German Bishops' Conference on how to proceed in these cases. But of course, through the template that came up last fall and that was created by this working group, a rather high standard has been set for the whole ies in this area. This had to be sorted and evaluated first. Now it seems that there is at least a commitment to these basic ways and directions.

Interviewer: These principles include, for example, a continued comprehensive offer of talks, information and accompaniment for those affected. But it is also about the material achievements. These are all voluntary payments, or?

Vogt: That's right, because there is no right to compensation or recognition benefits. Therefore one will remain further with the freiwilligen achievements. But with the paper – this is how I understand the result of the consultations – they say very clearly: "We will go this way and will continue to pay these benefits to those affected."

Interviewer: Individually determined one-time payments are to be made to the victims. And an independent body is to review the central determination of recognition figures. What does that look like then?

Vogt: This is one of the questions, which unfortunately has not been clarified in the course of the present Assembly. The paper and findings are very general and contain little specifics. That's why it's difficult to say what the next steps will be. This also includes the questions that, from my point of view at least, cannot be answered at present: How will this body be put together? Who decides who participates there? What will be the procedures? These are all things that are currently at least still unclear and which, according to the decision taken in the last few days, will only be specified in the fall.

Interviewer: So there is an agreement without concrete consequences?

Vogt: I ame that now again a working group, however composed, will deal with the questions that now need to be clarified. Why this has not happened in the interim between the first and the current interception, I can not say. This working group must now clarify the questions. It must clarify what the procedures will be like. It has to evaluate all this and then present it to the next plenary assembly so that a final decision can then be made.

Interviewer: What does this agreement by the bishops' conference mean for a victim of abuse? In what kind of a different position than the day before yesterday is one thereby?

Vogt: First of all, one is in no different position than the day before yesterday. And this is also what will once again weigh heavily on those affected with the statement and the results that have now been published, because there are precisely no concrete results. One does not know how one has the possibility to participate in the new procedure in the future. It is not clear whether a new application must be made again and how to deal with applications that have already been decided so far. That is, from the point of view of those affected, in my estimation, nothing has changed with today's events.

Interviewer: Victims' associations have long warned that a regulation must finally be made. So, in their eyes, the principles that have now been agreed upon are not sufficient?

Vogt: The principles are sufficient and describe a correct way. The procedure had to be developed and it has to come to other procedures and also to other payments. My criticism is that it is simply taking too long again and that these principles are good, but far too unspecific. In the end, they do not bring the clarity that is expected by all sides, so that the procedures can be handled promptly, well and in the interest of those affected.

Interviewer: So this procedure, this re-examination of the claims, can mean for the victims that they have to go through everything again?

Vogt: I hope not. I hope that a procedure will be agreed upon in which at least those persons who have already told their story and made their application in a German diocese or to a religious order will not have to go through the whole procedure again, including the description of the deed. In my view, this will be one of the essential points to be considered in a new procedure. Those affected should not again be put in the situation of being exposed to the risk of traumatization.

The interview was conducted by Uta Vorbrodt.

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