Historical and systematic study

Historical and systematic study

View of Essen Cathedral © Ilija Ascic (shutterstock)

The Essen diocese has commissioned another abuse study. It is to investigate the cases of abuse in the Ruhr diocese historically and systematically from its founding until today, as the diocese announced this Friday.

The scientific study will be conducted by the Munich-based Institute for Practical Research and Project Consulting (IPP), he said.

The investigation was a consequence of the abuse study of the German Bishops' Conference presented in the fall of 2018, it said. However, the processing of sexualized violence in the Catholic Church should not stop at this quantitative survey of past acts of violence.

The new study should therefore clarify what led to abuse and how cases of sexualized violence were dealt with. The diocese wants to draw concrete consequences for church work in order to better protect children, young people and adults from sexualized violence.

Sifting through files and conducting interviews

Researchers will reportedly review files as well as conduct interviews. The perspective of those affected by sexualized violence is central to the process. In addition, there will be talks with perpetrators and personnel managers, it said. Ruhr Bishop Franz-Josef Overbeck, Vicar General Klaus Pfeffer and representatives of the IPP will explain the project in more detail to the press on Friday of next week.

As part of the study on sexual abuse presented by the German bishops in the fall of 2018, evidence was found in church files from 1946 to 2014 of nationwide 3.677 victims of sexual assault and on about 1.670 accused priests, deacons and religious found. The diocese of Essen comes to 85 victims of sexual assault and 60 accused clergy since its founding in 1958.

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Christina Cherry
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