Sexualised Violence: New campaign against child abuse

Status: 11/17/2022 12:52 p.m

Especially in their own environment, children and young people are exposed to the risk of sexualised violence. A new educational campaign is intended to sensitize adults to this and help them to better recognize abuse in everyday life.

With a new nationwide campaign against sexualized violence against children, the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs and the Federal Abuse Commissioner, Kerstin Claus, want to create more awareness of the topic. The campaign is titled “Don’t push the thought away!” and should help to better recognize abuse in everyday life.

Minister Paus explained when the campaign was presented that many people would repress sexualised violence in their environment. But that’s exactly what shouldn’t happen. “We adults have a responsibility to be there for children. We have a responsibility not to dismiss suspicions, not to let them rest, but to pursue them,” said the Greens politician. The campaign shows who to contact and how to help. It is important that you do not have to be a professional.

The abuse officer Claus emphasized that the idea that sexualized violence takes place elsewhere serves to calm one’s own self – but can also blind people. Only those who recognize abuse as a real danger can act effectively.

“And what if it’s not a stranger?”

The campaign should start with statements like: “Don’t go with strangers! – What if it’s not a stranger?” or “Don’t open the door for anyone! – What if the danger is already inside?” challenge habitual patterns of thought. The motifs can be seen on posters, in advertisements and spots in the media.

In the police crime statistics, 15,500 cases of child sexual abuse were registered last year – an increase of 6.3 percent compared to 2020. Paus pointed out that the dark field, i.e. the number of cases that were not known or reported, ” incomparably larger”. About three quarters of the cases took place in the closest social environment.

According to a representative Forsa survey commissioned by the abuse officer in 2021, 90 percent of the population consider it likely that sexualized violence takes place primarily in families. But at the same time, 85 percent believe that it is unlikely or impossible for this to happen in their own families. The information campaign starts with this contradiction.

Political steps also announced

Politicians must also do more to protect affected children, said Paus. The minister announced that she would therefore give the office of Independent Commissioner for Child Sexual Abuse (UBSKM) a legal basis before the end of this legislative period. The aim is to regulate the legal status of the office and its tasks in a more binding manner. In addition, according to Paus, a regular reporting obligation to the German Bundestag should be established.

The new campaign is designed as a multi-year project. According to the abuse officer Claus, budget funds of five million euros are available for this and the coming year 2023. The aim is to achieve funding in 2024 and 2025 as well.

In addition to the dissemination of information, local initiatives are to be strengthened with a campaign office. The National Council against Sexual Violence against Children and Young People – a federal forum with several working groups – should also support the work.

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