NewsSexual abuse in families not dealt with enough

Sexual abuse in families not dealt with enough

Much has been said in recent years about sexual violence in churches, schools and sports clubs. Most of the acts take place in families. That makes it difficult for the victims.

Berlin – Escaping sexual abuse in families is often particularly difficult for children. Families in particular could easily isolate themselves from the outside world and thus prevent outside help and intervention – this is the result of a study on reports of acts in past decades.

The investigation by the Independent Commission on Coming to terms with Child Sexual Abuse was presented in Berlin on Tuesday. There was and is a great reluctance to interfere in the family, as the chairwoman of the commission and author of the study, Sabine Andresen, said.

Many people would think it is none of their business what goes on behind a family’s front door, said Andresen. This shyness was also present among the youth welfare offices, victims of abuse of the commission reported. The children are taught by the perpetrators that everything that happens in the family stays in the family. “For the children as victims in the families, there were no official contact persons for calls for help.” Further processing is urgently necessary, said Andresen. This particularly affects the youth welfare offices and their actions in the last few decades.

The perpetrators were mostly men

According to 870 evaluated reports from previous years about previous crimes, the perpetrators were predominantly men and the victims mostly girls. 87 percent male and 13 percent female perpetrators were found in the study. Sexual abuse includes rape, but also acts such as rubbing and touching clothes.

Almost half of the 1153 reported perpetrators (48 percent) were biological fathers, foster fathers and stepfathers. The victims also named grand- and step-uncle, brothers, grandfathers and other relatives. Ten percent of the perpetrators and accomplices were mothers.

Nearly 89 percent of the victims were girls and female adolescents and 10 percent were male. In some cases, gender was not given. The youngest people to approach the Commission were between 16 and 21 years old and the oldest between 76 and 80 years old. Most of the reports were from people between the ages of 40 and 60.

Beaten and threatened

The victims were threatened, beaten or even beaten up by the perpetrators. Other family members, especially mothers, often did not help them and tolerated the abuse. There was also a lack of help from schools or youth welfare offices. Victims reported that they were not taken seriously as children and were not believed when they tried to get help.

The commission was convened by the federal government in 2016 and has already published several reports. Of the 870 reports of abuse in families, 816 were cases from victims, 35 from relatives and 19 from other contemporary witnesses. 680 reports were made orally and 190 in writing.

These reports provide little information about the actual spread of sexual violence against children. According to the Commission, there is not enough reliable data on this overall. A study by the Criminological Research Institute of Lower Saxony in 2011 showed that around 7 percent of the women surveyed and 1.5 percent of the men surveyed reported experiences as victims. The majority of cases of sexual abuse occurred before the age of 14 and in the family.

The SPD politician Angela Marquardt, who sits on the Commission Affected Council, said: “All existing forms of sexual violence also take place in families.” That has been the case for generations. “Small children and children are at the mercy of family situations because they experience violence from the people whose protection they are most dependent on.” “There is no sustained debate about the family as a crime scene, unlike sports and the church. That has to change urgently. ”Dpa

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