First childhood home opens for abused children | – News

From: 22/04/2022 18:52

Statistically, there are one or two children in each school class who have been or are being sexually abused. If it comes to a lawsuit, it can be very stressful for the child. The childhood home in Flensburg was to help.

by Laura Albus

A child, perhaps in 3rd grade, is being sexually abused. It confides in its mother, tells of what happened. At the same time, the first liberation layer is also a re-traumatization. Until the trial comes – and it is not a matter of course that it gets there – the child must repeat his experiences countless times. They are always strangers – in police uniforms, in doctors’ coats. Unknown faces that the child must sign up for. Each repetition of the experience can trigger a lot of emotions in the child: Can I trust the person? Why am I suddenly in the center of attention? what is right, what is wrong? Each time the experience is repeated, there is a high risk that the child will be re-traumatized. That the violent crime, the act, burns even deeper into one’s memory.

The rooms radiate warmth

Both the Childhood Foundation and the Pro Familia Association believe this is wrong, which is why they opened the country’s first Childhood House in Flensburg. Here, children and young people involved in criminal cases are cared for primarily due to sexual violence. This means that everything from the first consultation to a police report and trial takes place here at the outpatient contact point. The wall colors of the renovated villa are kept in soft tones. There are toys, stuffed animals, colorful pictures hanging on the walls. The rooms radiate warmth and tranquility. This was made possible by the commitment of many individuals in Flensburg. The victim protection in the state of Schleswig-Holstein, Ulrike Stahlmann-Liebelt, bought the building with her family and made it available to the Childhood Foundation. About 100,000 euros were supported by the state. Additional funds came from private donations.

“Before, the kids were sent from A to B, that’s no longer the case.”
Sandra Blad, Pro Familia

Usually, victims need to repeat their statements regularly. The children, young people or their parents must arrange agreements with institutions such as the youth welfare service, the police, the doctor and the lawyer. Sandra Blad, caseworker at Pro Familia, pulls the strings in Childhood-Haus, she organizes, mediates and mediates. For example, it is important that everything is adapted to the child’s needs, even during a police or court video interrogation. Flensburg has many years of experience in psychosocial counseling – exemplary for child-friendly justice and victim protection at the national level. Affected children and young people can now find counseling, nursing, medical examinations, legal counseling with lawyers can take place there. Also first therapeutic conversations.

Help for all children who are victims of violence

The house’s focus is clearly on support before, during and after charges. But it is not an exclusion criterion. “No one is rejected here,” says Sandra Blad. There are also always, it is even most, cases where it is not reported. And: The children could come here and go home again after the consultation – also in a way that the parents do not necessarily notice. According to the Ministry of Justice, this is a completely new project with a lighthouse character for Schleswig-Holstein. The experience from Flensburg could also be used for other houses of this type.

No direct confrontation with perpetrators

It is the eighth house of its kind nationwide to be opened by the Childhood Foundation on Friday. Dr Astrid Helling-Bakki, CEO of the Foundation, refers not only to the House as a point of contact, but also to its function as an interrogation site for court hearings. Because in the Childhood House, the conversations can take place on the spot and not in court. Situations where the child is confronted with the perpetrator could thus be avoided.

For this purpose, two additional entrances were created in the house. The top floor is for the children and their carers only. Should the suspected perpetrator enter the house, for example for a trial day, the child is first brought into the court hearing before the accused arrives at another time. “Unfortunately, this is not a matter of course in Germany,” explains Dr. Astrid Helling-Bakki. During the interrogation, the child is not personally confronted with the suspected perpetrator, but the defense lawyers can follow the interrogation via video.

The house of childhood is meant to be a place where the victims are not held accountable to anyone. as they are believed. And where it’s about their needs as children. The first case has already announced itself.

Online on the site or via e-mail to caseworker Sandra Blad:

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Schleswig-Holstein Magazine | 22/04/2022 | 19:30 kl

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