In the vanguard

The two major churches are participating in the supplemental assistance system that provides additional support to victims of sexual abuse. The supplementary help system is based on the recommendations of the Round Table on Child Sexual Abuse.

Representatives of the two major churches signed a corresponding agreement with the federal government in Berlin on Friday. The aim is to make it easier for those affected to access therapies and counseling services. An independent clearinghouse organizes and oversees the activities. The involvement of the churches is of great importance to those concerned, said State Secretary Lutz Stroppe of the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs. "In addition to their financial aid, the churches are thus making another important contribution to coming to terms with the suffering of the victims." Stroppe appealed to the other organizations involved in the roundtable to follow the churches' example.

On behalf of the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD), its Berlin representative, Prelate Martin Dutzmann, said: "We have already advocated at the Round Table that such a support system be created, because we will not shirk our responsibility as employers."According to Dutzmann, the Protestant regional churches have been working toward the conclusion of the agreement. In the interests of those affected, they wanted to rely on the assessment of the Clearing House, which makes recommendations about the requirements and scope of assistance for those affected.

The churches participated in the drafting of the Round Table's recommendations and also supported the Independent Commissioner on Child Sexual Abuse in campaigns, monitoring and on the advisory board, said Bishop Stephan Ackermann. For those affected, the implementation of the recommendations on non-material and material aid is of central importance. Ackermann is the Catholic Church's commissioner for questions of sexual abuse of minors. It is a good sign that the corresponding agreement will soon be signed by the Conference of German Religious Superiors, the bishop added.

Church the first institutions

The two major churches are reportedly the first institutions to participate in the complementary aid system in the institutional sphere. In its final report, the Round Table had called for the establishment of a joint assistance system by the federal government, the states and responsible institutions for those affected. The "Sexual Abuse in Families Fund," endowed by the federal government with 50 million euros, was launched in May 2013 as the first part of the supplementary assistance system for victims of sexual violence.

In the meantime, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania has contributed around one million euros. Bavaria has also shown willingness to contribute to the fund. The fund can be used to finance in-kind services such as psychotherapeutic assistance, costs of individual processing of the abuse, support for further training and qualification measures, as well as other support in cases of particular hardship. Victims of sexual abuse in the family sphere can apply through the fund office until 30. April 2016 the amption of contributions in kind up to 10.000 euros request.

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