Recognition benefits for those affected

Recognition benefits for those affected

Balloons in front of Fulda Cathedral commemorate victims of abuse in the Catholic Church © Ingo Bruggenjurgen (DR)

A look at the dioceses: By the end of last year, dioceses in Germany had paid more than 19 million euros to victims of abuse in the church. This is what a recent survey among the 27 (arch)dioceses revealed.

In total, more than 2.600 applications for recognition payments were received by the dioceses, according to the survey by the Protestant Press Service (epd).

The diocese of Regensburg paid more than 9.6 million euros, the highest amount among the individual dioceses. According to the diocese, the sum comes from the high number of cases at the boys' choir Regensburger Domspatzen.

In addition, the diocese had already switched last year to the new system for the recognition of suffering, which the Catholic German Bishops' Conference had decided for all dioceses only at the end of last year, and paid about 5.2 million euros to the victims who had already been compensated. The lowest amount was recorded by the diocese of Gorlitz at 4.000 euros. So far, only one application has been received there.

New rules of procedure

Since 1. January 2021 payments to abuse victims to be based on civil damages for pain and suffering. Victims of sexualized violence can receive up to 50.000 euros as a one-time payment. In addition, therapy costs are covered. Even victims who have already received money from a diocese can apply for it again.

Any payments will be offset against the new amount, according to the German Bishops' Conference. However, so far only a few of those affected have made use of the option to apply again. 116 applications have been submitted since the 1. January, the survey found, although not all dioceses provided information on the matter.

The new rules of procedure also provide for an independent commission to decide on the applications. The dioceses forward the applications to the Independent Commission.

Majority does not spend church tax funds

Majority of dioceses do not spend church tax funds on payments, according to survey. Almost everywhere the perpetrators are used for it. If they are no longer alive, the money is paid from the assets of the dioceses. In the diocese of Magdeburg, the archdiocese of Hamburg and the diocese of Hildesheim, money from church tax funds flowed for the services.

In the diocese of Erfurt, this has not been the case so far, but it would be possible in principle. In the dioceses of Mainz and Munster, church taxes were used in the past, but now they are no longer used.

The so-called MHG study, published in 2018, estimates that between 1946 and 2014, 3.677 minors were victims of abuse in the area of the Bishops' Conference.

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