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Child Sexual Abuse in Religiously Affiliated and Secular Institutions in Germany

  • Miriam Rassenhofer
  • Nina Spröber-Kolb
  • Paul L. Plener
  • Michael Kölch
  • Jörg M. Fegert
Chapter

Abstract

In this chapter, we describe the development of research about child sexual abuse in religiously affiliated and secular institutions in Germany that has been neglected for a long time. In 2010, the so-called abuse affair in Germany ignited a political debate over the extent of abuse committed by professional educators. At around the same time, the German government and the Roman Catholic Church in Germany each set up a contact point to gather information on child sexual abuse that had taken place within the church and secular institutions. In one of our analyses, we looked at a subset of the data, in order to compare the nature of abuse experienced in three types of institutions: Roman Catholic, Protestant, and secular. The results suggest that child sexual abuse in institutions is attributable to the nature of institutional structures more than to the attitudes towards sexuality of a specific religion. In another analysis, we compared data about sexual abuse in the Roman Catholic Church that has been collected through a church and through a government contact point. Some differences were found. These differences highlight the need for an effective complaint management system to offer not just one but complementary channels of communication. In addition, the findings confirm the feasibility and value of a critical incident reporting system (CIRS) approach and the use of so-called citizen science in politically driven review processes. Finally, we draft developments in politics, society and institutions concerning prevention and intervention strategies.

Keywords

Sexual abuse Children Adolescents Religiously affiliated institutions Secular institutions Germany Independent Commissioner Roman Catholic Church 

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Miriam Rassenhofer
    • 1
  • Nina Spröber-Kolb
    • 1
  • Paul L. Plener
    • 1
  • Michael Kölch
    • 2
  • Jörg M. Fegert
    • 1
  1. 1.University Hospital Ulm, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry/PsychotherapyUlmGermany
  2. 2.Vivantes HospitalBerlinGermany

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