CDU-RLP proposes house for investigation of violence against children – SWR Aktuell

The CDU’s parliamentary group calls for the establishment of a so-called childhood home in Rhineland-Palatinate, where children who have experienced sexual violence are cared for in criminal cases. The state parliament will consider the application on Wednesday.

What exactly is a childhood home?

A childhood home is a place where children and young people who have experienced physical and sexual violence receive all the important help they need in a protected environment. The name comes from the Childhood Foundation, which works to protect children from violence. Children and young people involved in criminal cases as victims of sexual violence are cared for in the homes.

This means: In such a house, everything takes place from the first consultation, over notification to the police to statements in court cases. In a childhood home, the conversations can take place on the spot and not in court, eg via video interrogation. There are also opportunities for appointments to the youth office, therapeutic interviews or medical examinations.

Every fifth child could have been affected by sexualized violence. The perpetrators often come from their own family.
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What does the CDU require?

The CDU’s parliamentary group calls on the state government to set up such a childhood home in Rhineland-Palatinate in order to prosecute acts of violence against children more sensitively in the interests of the victims. The parliamentary group’s application states: With child welfare, Rhineland-Palatinate has a well-established structure that helps children and young people enormously.

However, the focus of the work of these services lies in the protection of the victims, not in the prosecution of criminals. To expand the work of the child protection services in the country, adding Childhood Houses is the right way. CDU faction leader Christian Baldauf said: “It is very important to deal with those affected sensitively, it is best done in one place.” This requires a legally secure framework.

What does the state government say?

It is not yet known that the traffic light coalition is planning a childhood home in the country. Family Minister Katharina Binz (Greens) will probably speak on the subject in the state parliament’s debate. The coalition agreement states: “We will enter into a pact against sexualised violence against children and young people to ensure even more effective prevention and nationwide child-friendly efforts and aftercare in cases of sexualised violence against children.”

Schools, clubs, the police and the judiciary, youth welfare offices and specialist counseling centers must be included in this pact. The participation of those affected by sexual assault is central. A coordination center will be set up for this purpose.

Where are there already such houses?

There are already several childhood homes throughout Germany, including in Düsseldorf, Leipzig, Hamburg, Berlin and Heidelberg. A Childhood House is also scheduled to open in Frankfurt this year. It would be the first in Hesse. It is to be built at Frankfurt University Hospital.

Rhineland-Palatinate

The shadow of an adult's hands and a child's head on a wall in a room (Photo: picture-alliance / Reportdienste, dpa Bildfunk, Patrick Pleul)

In Rhineland-Palatinate, more and more images showing child sexual abuse are being distributed.
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Cases of abuse in RLP?

In Rhineland-Palatinate, cases of sexual abuse of children are recorded in police crime statistics. According to this, last year there were 673 cases. According to the Interior Ministry, the number of cases has changed relatively little over the past ten years. The average was therefore about 654 cases.

The development in the distribution of child pornography is completely different. In 2021, there was an increase of almost 100 percent compared to the year before to 2055 cases. The Ministry of the Interior in Rhineland-Palatinate attributes this to more and more people using smartphones and other Internet-enabled devices. Corresponding image and video files can then be quickly distributed via, for example, social media platforms.

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