Shadow of a cross © Harald Oppitz (KNA)
Mary Hallay-Witte is the new director of the church-affiliated Institute for Prevention and Reappraisal, IPA. The 51-year-old was previously an advisor at the IPA and has also led it on an acting basis since October 2020, according to an announcement by the institute.
In the Archdiocese of Hamburg, Hallay-Witte had established the specialized office for the protection of children and young people and the work of diocesan prevention, intervention and reappraisal from 2010 to 2018.
The religious educator and systemic family therapist succeeds the previous director Oliver Vogt, who gave up the post for personal reasons. Hallay-Witte had many years of practical experience and expertise in the prevention, intervention and processing of sexual abuse in institutions, the IPA said. From 2011 to 2015, she was spokesperson for the prevention officers of the German dioceses.
Institute for Prevention and Reappraisal
The IPA is to establish the connection between the manifold practical experiences in the prevention work of the 27 German dioceses to science and society. The initiative to found the institute came from the German Bishops' Conference's commissioner for questions of sexual abuse, Bishop Stephan Ackermann of Trier. The IPA is supported by the future association for prevention and reappraisal of sexualized violence. It is financed by funds from a Catholic family foundation, according to its own information.
Hallay-Witte, he said, wants to continue building the institute, which was founded in 2019, and constructively accompany the "complex transformation process" that she perceives the church is currently experiencing in the thematic field of prevention, intervention and reappraisal. Dialogue with those affected and their participation in future association committees are of great concern to the new director: "It is necessary to look into the past in order to work out solutions for measures for the future."