German Policy on Sexual crime

Protecting children and young persons from sexual abuse and exploitation is one of the Federal Governments major concerns. For this reason, the Federal Cabinet adopted the Action Plan to Protect Children and Young Persons from Sexual Abuse and Exploitation in January 2003, laying down an overall strategy which cuts across federal ministries and seeks to protect children and young persons in an effective manner. The objectives of the Action Plan are as follows:

  • improving the protection provided by criminal law provisions;
  • enhancing prevention and victim protection and assistance;
  • connecting support and counseling services;
  • promoting international cooperation.

A great variety of measures have since been put into practice to achieve these objectives. The Action Plan is process-oriented, serving as a basis for the constant development of the issues it addresses and of the resulting need for action. To this end, the relevant bodies at the federal, regional and local level, the NGOS, and the scientific community need to cooperate. For this reason, the Action Plan provides for a joint Working Group at the federal/regional level to monitor, coordinate and constantly update the Action Plan. With this Working Group a nationwide network has been established which advises the Federal Government.

At the end of the year 2008 the Federal Government presented a Status report of the measures it conducted since the Action Plan had been adopted.

In reaction to several incidences of sexual violence within boarding schools that unsettled the public, the German government set up a Round Table to address the problem of sexual abuse of minors both in institutions and within the family in 2010.

It is hosted by the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth, the Federal Ministry of Justice and the Federal Ministry for Education and Research. The members of the Round Table discuss and propose strategies such as

  • Guidelines for institutions on how to act in cases of (suspected) sexual abuse;
  • Preventive measures for children and young people;
  • Further education and training for professionals;
  • Promotion of research;
  • Ways to acknowledge the suffering inflicted on the victims both materially and immaterially.

On 24th March 2010, the Federal Government decided also to create the post of an independent commissioner to enquire into the sexual abuse of children.

On 27 September 2011 the Federal Government adopted the Action Plan 2011 to Protect Children and Young People against Sexual Violence and Exploitation. It includes an overall concept on protecting children and young people against all forms of sexual violence and exploitation. Children and adolescents were involved in drafting the action plan. Within the context of the action plan, the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth is supports a national prevention initiative Trau Dich! (Go ahead!) an a national campaign to promote further training for child and youth services professionals.

The Federal Ministry of Education and Research made 32 million euros available for research on sexual violence against children and adolescents in the wake of the meetings. The goal is to establish and sustain research on this topic. This research is to be closely tied to actual practice.

For information on the German policy for sexual crime against adults, please consult the page on Domestic Violence.

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