News

Thousands of minors abused by German Protestant Church: study

By AFP

January 25, 2024 10:00 PM


 

The German Protestant Church on Thursday acknowledged it did not do enough to protect children after an independent study revealed thousands of cases of sexual abuse within the organisation.

The study estimated that the number of minors who fell victim to church ministers and staff may be as high as 9,355.

Researchers made the calculation after reviewing the files in 2,225 documented cases of assault, which identified 1,259 potential perpetrators since 1946.

The limited evidence provided by regional churches meant the figure was likely just "the tip of the tip of the iceberg", co-author Martin Wazlawik said at a press conference.

The study is an indictment for the German Protestant Church (EKD), which had long managed to avoid the sort of scandal that engulfed the Catholic Church.

The head of the EKD, Kirsten Fehrs, said in a statement that the results of the study showed a "massive failure" towards the victims.

"We did not protect them at the time of the crime and we did not treat them with dignity when they found the courage to come forward," Fehrs said, promising to continue work to make amends.

 

- 'Slow work' -

 

To date, the Protestant Church's efforts to bring light to the circumstances of abuse had been worse than their more-criticised Catholic counterparts, said study co-author Harald Dressing.

The "slow work" of regional churches to deliver documents, despite a contractual agreement to make them available, meant the study could not be carried out fully, Dressing said.

Katharina Kracht, who was assaulted by a church minister in the 1980s, said she was disappointed with the results of the study.

"The regional churches are preventing us from coming to terms with it," Kracht said, criticising delays to a meaningful investigation.

Commissioned by the EKD in 2020, the study was carried out by an independent research association under the direction of the Hanover University of Applied Sciences and Arts.

Not just ministers, but full- and part-time employees, as well as church volunteers fell within the scope of the study.

The German Protestant Church said it would in November present an "action plan" based on the results of the abuse study.

The publication of the report comes after the former head of the EKD resigned at the end of last year after she was accused of covering up a suspected sexual assault by a colleague.

Annette Kurschus was reported to have failed to act after having been informed of allegations against a male colleague in the church district of Siegen.

She denied any knowledge of the abuse but said she was resigning "to prevent damage to my church".

A similar study into the Catholic Church commissioned by the German Bishops' Conference concluded in 2018 that 1,670 clergymen had committed some form of sexual attack against 3,677 minors between 1946 and 2014.

The real number of victims is thought to be much higher.

The Catholic Church in 2020 increased payouts for abuse in Germany to up to 50,000 euros, although campaigners said the sums were still too low.


AFP


Most Read

  1. 16 die, 30 wounded as truck carrying 100 pilgrims fall into ditch near Hub 16 die, 30 wounded as truck carrying 100 pilgrims fall into ditch near Hub
  2. Ayeza Khan has ideal stylist squad! Ayeza Khan has ideal stylist squad!
  3. French athlete breaks world record after climbing Eiffel Tower French athlete breaks world record after climbing Eiffel Tower
  4. Punjab students asked to get registered for getting petrol, e-bikes Punjab students asked to get registered for getting petrol, e-bikes
  5. Muslim ummah observes Eid-ul-Fitr with religious enthusiasm Muslim ummah observes Eid-ul-Fitr with religious enthusiasm
  6. UK hikes family visa requirements in bid to cut migration UK hikes family visa requirements in bid to cut migration

Opinion

  1. Insights into the Pakistan Stock Exchange's Recent Record High Triumph
    Insights into the Pakistan Stock Exchange's Recent Record High Triumph

    By Zulfiqar Ali Mir

  2. IMEC to sabotage CPEC
    IMEC to sabotage CPEC

    By Dr Asif Channer

  3. 1947 TO FORM 47
    1947 TO FORM 47

    By Dr Asif Channer

  4. Beijing wants to further highlight industrial sector in its country and take scientific innovation to new heights....
    Beijing wants to further highlight industrial sector in its country and take scientific innovation to new heights....

    By Ali Ramay

  5. Global race: China will reduce its unnecessary expenses
    Global race: China will reduce its unnecessary expenses

    By Ali Ramay

  6. Channer Pir: The Great Saint of Cholistan
    Channer Pir: The Great Saint of Cholistan

    By Dr Asif Channer