“Contact point.help” starts on 1. July

On July 1, the Evangelical Church in Germany. July an independent one-stop shop on sexual abuse a. With this, the church responds to requests from victims. For them it was difficult to find the right contact person.

Victims of sexualized violence in the Protestant church or in the diaconate are offered help at the "Central Contact Point".help" experts are available for counseling sessions in a protected setting, the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD) announced this Tuesday in Hanover. The church has concluded a corresponding contract with the "Pfiffigunde Heilbronn" advisory service. The offer complements the contact points in some regional churches.

Finding the right contact person more easily

Hamburg Bishop Kirsten Fehrs, spokeswoman for the EKD Council of Commissioners, said on the sidelines of an expert conference that a central contact point was an urgent matter from the point of view of those affected. The decentralized, anti-hierarchical structures in the Protestant church would have made it difficult to find the right contact persons. The establishment of the position is part of an 11-point action plan adopted by the EKD synod in Wurzburg last November. The EKD is providing around one million euros for its implementation in 2019.

Emphasize the role of those affected

The focus of the symposium in the church office of the EKD, which was attended by more than 40 scientists and those affected, was the conception of a scientific reappraisal study decided upon within the framework of the action plan. A public invitation to tender for the study will be ied by the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf (UKE) under the project management of Ingo Schafer. "We find it particularly important that those affected should also play a significant role in the process of coming to terms with the situation," emphasized the head of the Trauma and Stress Research Working Group at the UKE. Initial results of the two-stage process, which will be obtained at the regional level, are to be available by the end of 2021.

600 cases known so far

The symposium also discussed the dark field study, which was also approved and will be used to collect data on sexualized violence by full-time and voluntary employees of the Protestant Church and the Diakonie. Currently, there are about 600 known cases in the Protestant Church.

In March, the EKD and the federal government's commissioner for abuse agreed on the cornerstones of an agreement between the independent commissioner and the EKD on coming to terms with sexualized violence in the Protestant church.

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Christina Cherry
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