“Zero tolerance”

Child abuse symbol image © Patrick Pleul

Church prevention officers from 14 European countries want to establish a network against sexual abuse. Under the standard "zero tolerance" the network should serve the mutual exchange.

Luxembourg theology professor Jean Ehret said Friday in Trier after an international conference on prevention work.

Developing awareness for assaults

In priestly training, candidates are now also examined psychologically, according to the theology professor. In addition, employees must be trained so that they can deal with it properly when a case is brought to their attention. "We need to develop a culture of attention to assaults," Ehret stressed.

The prevention officer of the diocese of Trier, Andreas Zimmer, warned against easy and quick solutions. "A lot of strength and staying power are still needed," he stressed. In addition to sexuality, power relationships are important factors, he explained, as is the structure within the church. "The first solidarity must be with the child and not with the confrere," Zimmer stressed.

Prevention of abuse in care of the elderly and sick

The prevention officer of the Archdiocese of Hamburg, Mary Hallay-Witte, reported on the prevention of abuse in care for the elderly and the sick, as well as against people with disabilities. "This is a taboo within the taboo," Hallay-Witte said.

The "Luxembourg School of Religion Society" and the office for the protection of children and young people of the diocese of Trier had invited to the three-day conference. The prevention officers came from Croatia, England, France, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and Germany, among other countries.

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