Giffey: next major milestone

Giffey: next major milestone

The abysses are getting deeper and deeper, the cases bigger and bigger: Now a National Council for Combating Abuse is to ensure that recommendations and concepts reach the grass roots and are implemented quickly.

Expectations are high: A National Council for Combating Abuse was constituted in Berlin on Monday. Some 40 top representatives from politics and civil society to ensure better networking and more political prere to implement recommendations. 2021 they are to present recommendations.

The Federal Government Commissioner for Abuse, Johannes-Wilhelm Rorig, and Family Minister Franziska Giffey (SPD) were invited to attend. They will chair the new panel. This is to send a new signal some nine years after the end of the Round Table to combat child abuse. Not least because the dimensions of sexualized violence have taken on ever greater proportions in recent years.

Reaction to the abuse scandal coming to light

A look back: Almost ten years ago, when the abuse scandal became known, the extent of sexualized violence became apparent in all its drasticness, especially in church institutions and private schools such as the Odenwald School. And politics acted: the former Federal Minister for Family Affairs Christine Bergmann (SPD) agreed to initially take over the newly established office of an abuse commissioner. She sat at the round table, along with other representatives from politics and the church and other areas of civil society such as sports.

After about one year Rorig took over the office. His task: to implement the recommendations of the Round Table. He organized hearings, brought in experts and, above all, allowed those affected to have their say. The first prevention concepts were drawn up and the support needed by those affected was identified. It also urged legislative reforms. Victims of abuse now have more rights in court and statutes of limitations have been increased. A fund has also been set up for rapid assistance. Rorig repeatedly made it clear that no line should be drawn under the ie.

Processing Commission

Rorig, himself a lawyer, created structures and set up a council of victims, which still advises him today. He also ensured that an independent reappraisal commission gives those affected the opportunity to talk about what they have experienced and to make their fates visible. The findings are also to be used to derive recommendations on how reappraisal can proceed.

Now the National Council. Victims in particular hope the panel will have greater clout. In addition to Giffey and Rorig, the council includes high-ranking delegates from the child and youth protection sector, such as the president of the German Child Protection Association, Heinz Hilgers, the chairwoman of the Working Group for Child and Youth Welfare, Karin Bollert, and the president of the German Olympic Sports Confederation, Alfons Hormann.

High hopes for the panel

The churches are represented, among others, by the Abuse Commissioner of the Bishops' Conference, Stephan Ackermann, the Plenipotentiary of the Council of the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD), Martin Dutzmann, and the President of the German Conference of Superiors of Religious Orders, Sister Katharina Kluitmann. Kerstin Claus sits on the Round Table as a representative of the Council of Victims. They will be joined by representatives of the Federal Criminal Police Office, the judiciary and the medical profession. They are all intended to ensure that recommendations and resolutions actually reach the grass roots.

Giffey spoke of a "next big milestone" in the fight against abuse. It emphasized that politics and society should not be divided into different areas of responsibility, but should work together on this ie. Protection must be improved, access to rapid assistance must be facilitated, and court proceedings must be gentler in dealing with those affected.

Rorig also has high hopes for the committee: "The unbroken high number of cases and the abuse cases in Staufen, Lugde or now Bergisch Gladbach make it clear that thousands of children and young people in Germany are not adequately protected from sexual violence," he said. He announced an awareness campaign against sexual violence – on the scale of the anti-Aids campaign in the 1980s.

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