The new law called abuse prescribes concepts of protection, prevention and investigation. But those affected are still waiting for a relief fund.

The photo shows the shadow of the hands.

Protecting children is a priority, but there is no money to support victims in Germany Photo: Maurizio Gambarini/dpa

So now it's here, the abuse law. Finally. Because the draft UBSKM law, as it is officially called because it is intended to regulate the interests of the Independent Commissioner for Child Sexual Abuse (UBSKM), has not had an easy road to this point. It was demanded for a long time, finally embodied in the traffic light coalition agreement and then blocked by FDP Finance Minister Christian Lindner. If all goes well, the Cabinet will approve the law at the end of May and it can come into force at the beginning of the year.

Sounds like good news. At least in parts. The law permanently installs the abuse commissioner, similar to the data protection commissioner, military commissioner and police commissioner.

The abuse commissioner must regularly report to Parliament on the extent of sexual violence against children and young people, as well as the measures that have been taken to combat it. This is important because only if the issue is firmly present in the social debate will it be given the weight it deserves. According to the World Health Organization, approximately two children in every school class experience sexual violence. Some for years until they were physically and psychologically destroyed.

Therefore, the law obliges institutions that work with children and young people to develop protection concepts. The law also provides for research on prevention and prevalence, as well as additional training for doctors and family judges. The law will improve the current advice for those affected and victims of abuse will also be able to consult their files in child protection offices, in homes and in guardianship courts. Until now they have been denied this.

The aid fund is missing

And yet, the project is missing an important element: they will search in vain for a reference to a relief fund, which has been requested repeatedly and which provides better material and immaterial support to victims. Those affected never tire of complaining that they are not considered enough as individuals. Special attention is paid to cases of abuse in churches, in sports and in homes. But the effects of this are rarely felt by the affected individual.

The current bill seems to follow the principle: before the law is rejected (again), we settle for a compromise. Because a fund like this costs money. The law could have changed the course of protecting children and victims. Now it is more of a small, although important, reform.

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