“Act now”

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Freiburg archdiocese stands by its expansion of aid and financial support for abuse victims. This also includes monthly payments of up to 800 euros as well as one-time payments of up to 30.000 euros.

The corresponding order is to be implemented no later than 1. January into force, as Vicar General Axel Mehlmann confirmed on Monday to the Catholic News Agency (KNA).

"We want to act now and not wait until all dioceses have come to new common rules. At this level, there are still many details to be clarified, such as the questions of financing and the respective examination of claims for compensation," said the head of administration of the diocese.

The German Bishops' Conference recently discussed two models for arriving at uniform rules across the country: One provides for a lump-sum compensation of about 300.000 euros per case, the other a graduated compensation procedure in which, depending on the severity of the case, between 40.000 and 400.000 euros will be paid.

Archdiocese of Freiburg has its own model

The Archdiocese of Freiburg had previously developed its own model. Freiburg, for example, plans to be the first diocese to support abuse victims with monthly payments. Sexual abuse of minors has lifelong consequences and can severely affect the existence health and professionally, it was said in justification. The new offer of support of up to 800 euros a month is in response to this, he said. It is to be limited to people who are "needy" as a result of the abuse they suffered, meaning they cannot support themselves.

In addition, in the Baden-Wurttemberg diocese there is still the possibility of applying for one-off payments as "recognition for suffering suffered". Here, the new order provides for a standard amount of 5.000 euros, which "under special circumstances" can be increased to as much as 30.000 euros can be increased.

At the same time, the archdiocese wants to help victims of sexual violence by priests or church employees quickly and pragmatically in the search for suitable therapists. Therapy costs will be covered, according to the order.

Most of the abuses took place a long time ago

According to the nationwide study on cases of abuse in the Catholic Church published last year, there are indications in the Archdiocese of Freiburg of 190 accused persons and 442 affected persons. Most of the assaults occurred a long time ago; files from 1899 to 2015 were analyzed for the study. 125 accused have died.

The Archdiocese of Freiburg has undertaken to report all suspected cases of abuse to the public prosecutor's office. The diocese's abuse commissioner, Angelika Musella, said in July that she had received six reports with current allegations diocese-wide since 2011. Most of these were border violations, and the acts were not criminally relevant.

Vicar General Mehlmann said that after the Bishops' Conference's plans for large compensation payments became public, some people in Freiburg had come forward anew to apply for compensation.

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