The Catholic Church in Germany wants to keep its hotline for abuse victims open longer than previously planned. The number should not be switched off in September, but continue to exist until April 2012, said a spokesman for the German Bishops' Conference in Bonn on Monday.
With the extension of the hotline the conversation offer between church and victims is to be kept further open, so Matthias Kopp. The nationwide free telephone hotline for victims of sexual abuse was set up at the end of March 2010. It is run by the Life Counseling Service in the Diocese of Trier on behalf of the German Bishops' Conference and is staffed by psychologists and social workers. So far, according to the bishops' conference, there have been 6.702 conversations. Most of those affected described incidents from the years 1950 to 1980. Most recently, the number of calls had dropped sharply, to over 50 last week. Initially, there were more than 400 calls per week. The callers' interest has recently been directed primarily toward therapy offers, counseling and the question of compensation.
The Catholic Church had asked for compensation of around 5.000 euros for victims of sexual abuse, which is to be paid out in recognition of the suffering they have endured. The magazine "Der Spiegel" reported in its current ie on Monday that the compensation practices of Catholic religious orders in particular are increasingly meeting with criticism from victims of abuse. In various cases, for example, considerably less than 5.000 euros had been paid, without giving any reasons for this. According to Kopp, the "Central Coordination Office" of the Bishops' Conference has so far received 670 applications for compensation. 650 were edited. Dioceses and religious orders are not bound by the recommendations of the coordinating body.