Useful interface

Within the first six months, 372 people have called the telephone hotline for former children of Catholic institutions. There were a total of 642 telephone consultations, the German Bishops' Conference announced in Bonn on Wednesday.

The Catholic Church launched the counseling service at the beginning of January to help former institutionalized children come to terms with their painful experiences in church-run homes. In the 1950s and 1960s, some 300.000 children and young people in catholic mechanisms accommodated. Those affected can talk on the phone with counselors trained in therapy and pastoral care about their experiences during their stay in the home. The bishops' conference also said that the accounts provide the church with authentic information about the actual conditions in home education at the time and the concerns of those involved.
Corporal punishment and chastisement Nearly 87 percent of callers reported being in shelters themselves, and 76 percent used the hotline to talk it out. 21 percent wanted the mediation of file inspection, and 19 percent were looking for a contact person to reconstruct their biography during their stay at the home. 17 percent of callers asked for further advice, with just under 17 percent asking about possible compensation. As reasons for suffered injustice in homes gave almost 72 percent physical punishment and chastisement, 56 percent spoke of devaluation of their person, about 45 percent criticized the rigid discipline and 42 percent complained of humiliation. Almost 30 percent spoke of being stigmatized as a home child. Around 18 percent of those affected said they had been sexually abused by adults in the home, and just under 13 percent reported being sexually assaulted by other children in the home.

Forced religious practice 25 percent of callers complained of experiencing forced religious practice, and 31 percent described a discrepancy between Christian values and daily parenting practices. Just under seven percent of the callers came forward to talk explicitly about good experiences during their time as children in the home. Overall, it appeared that the hotline was perceived as a helpful service, the bishops' conference said. Affected persons would find it a useful interface with institutions such as religious orders and homes. The nationwide hotline for former children in care is a service offered by the Marriage, Family and Life Counseling Service in the Archdiocese of Cologne on behalf of the German Bishops' Conference.

Notice: The telephone hotline at 0180 4100 400 is available on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 9.00 to 18.00 o'clock attainable.

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