Berlin Holds Roundtable on Child Abuse

Press TV
October 1, 2010

[with video]

Sixty representatives from government, church, and civil associations have met in the German capital, Berlin, to take a series of actions against child abuse in the country.

The justice minister, family minister, and education minister reported on the progress of the projects they are heading since the government called for the creation of the working group.

"Continuing education and training was a major issue in our discussion," said Christine Bergman, an independent commissioner, adding, "That is what we want to achieve with this campaign."

The government's appointed independent committee has launched the campaign where a sample of 2500 phone calls and letters showed that eighty percent of people getting in touch had experienced child abuse twenty or more years ago. For many of them it is the first time they speak out in decades.

With a budget of 32 million euros, a network of researchers will gather knowledge on the scale, possible causes, and impact of sexual abuse on children.

All public places where adults are in close contact with children will have to abide by strict standards and will be trained in how to deal with the issue.

Outside the meeting venue, victims gathered to show their protest about the proceedings. They said they wished they had been involved in the discussion.

"They are not speaking for us. They are speaking above us about us... We are survivors, we are not just victims and we need to be in here (the meeting) to stand for our own right," Marcella Becker from the Network of Sexual Violence Victims who were among the protesters told Press TV correspondent.

There are no precise figures on the scale of child abuse in the country as many victims never report the abuse. An estimated 25 percent of girls were abused in their childhood or youth. The number is slightly lower for boys. But cases that erupt are only the tip of the iceberg.


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