Talks on child abuse in Germany criticised

23rd April 2010, Comments 0 comments

Round table talks on the child abuse scandal engulfing the Roman Catholic church in Pope Benedict XVI's native Germany began on Friday amid criticism that victims are being excluded.

In common with other European countries, Germany has been rocked in recent months by revelations that children were physically or sexually abused in institutions, the vast majority ones run by the Roman Catholic Church.

The hundreds of cases of abuse mostly date back decades and can no longer be the subject of criminal investigations, but one of the issues the round table will look at is changing the statute of limitations.

The talks, including some 60 representatives from the Catholic and Protestant churches, children's charities, psychologists and other experts, will also look at possible compensation and how to prevent future abuse.

But some highly renowned independent organisations that provide advice to victims feel they are under-represented, the Sueddeutsche Zeitung reported.

"I have the impression that the victims are being shut out," Ursula Enders, co-founder of one of these organisations, the highly regarded Zartbitter, told the newspaper.

Thomas Schlingmann from Tauwetter, another such organisation, said he was sceptical that the talks would produce concrete results that would boost child protection, fearing instead only well-meaning but ineffective appeals.

© 2010 AFP

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