The Independent Commissioner for Child Sexual Abuse Issues is the Federal Government's office for the concerns of the survivors and their families, for experts from practice and science and for everyone in politics and society who are engaging in protection of children and adolescents from sexual violence being committed.
The creation of the office
On the 28th of January 2010, the Berliner Morgenpost reported on cases of abuse at the Canisius-Kolleg in Berlin. Many hundreds of survivors from other institutions such as the Ettal Monastery or the Odenwald School then broke their silence and this triggered the so-called "abuse scandal" in spring of 2010.
The Federal Government (2010/11) then convened the Round Table for “Child Sexual Abuse” and the Office of an Independent Commissioner was established as a result of this.
The first Independent Commissioner for Child Sexual Abuse Issues was Dr Christine Bergmann, a former Federal Minister for Family Affairs. (2010 -2011).
During her initial term in office, Dr Christine Bergmann dealt with more than 20,000 letters and phone calls in which survivors and people close to them described their abuse experiences.
Continuation of the Office
The Office of the Independent Commissioner for Child Sexual Abuse Issues was transferred to Johannes-Wilhelm Rörig, an ministerial director and a sub-head of department in the Children and Youth department at the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, in December 2011.
In December 2018 the Office of the Independent Commissioner for Child Sexual Abuse Issues was declared a permanent institution by the Federal Cabinet.
Rörig was reappointed as the Independent Commissioner for Child Sexual Abuse Issues for a further five-year term in April 2019.
One focus of his work was prevention, especially the nationwide introduction of prevention concepts in all of the facilities that are entrusted with caring for children and adolescents. Initiatives such as "No room for abuse", "School against sexual violence" as well as the "What's wrong with Jaron?” school training program were all introduced during his term in office. Rörig also constituted a survivors’ board, for those who suffered, at his office in 2015 and he appointed the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse in Germany in 2016. Together with Franziska Giffey, the former Federal Minister for Family Affairs, he constituted the "National Council against Sexual Violence inflicted on Children and Adolescents" in 2019.
As part of the Inquiry with cases of sexual abuse in the past within the ecclesiastical sector, a "Joint Declaration" between UBSKM and the German Bishops' Conference and the German Conference of Superiors of Religious Orders about setting standards for the Inquiry with the past was signed in 2020/2021.
Rörig resigned from his office on the 28th of February 2022.
The Office today
In March 2022 Kerstin Claus, a journalist and systemic organisational consultant, was appointed by the Federal Cabinet as the new Independent Commissioner for Child Sexual Abuse Issues. Her term of office is 5 years.
Kerstin Claus has been active for many years in a full-time and voluntary capacity combating sexual violence against children and adolescents. She was a member of the Survivors´ Board at UBSKM (2015 - 2022) and the National Council against Sexual Violence inflicted on Children and Adolescents (2019 - 2022) and she has also advised institutions and politicians about the sexualised violence against children issue.