The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse in Germany investigates sexual violence against children and adolescents in both institutional and family contexts in Germany.
History and composition
The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse was established in 2016 by Johannes-Wilhelm Rörig, the independent commissioner. By doing this he met the long-standing and central demands of the survivors to establish a body that could independently investigate sexual violence against children and adolescents in all of its contexts. The basis for establishing it was a supporting resolution adopted by the German Bundestag in July 2015.
On the 12th of December 2018, the commission's initial three-year term was extended to five years, i.e. until the end of 2023, by a Federal Cabinet resolution. The continuation and further development of the commission is being sought. The members of the commission are experts from different fields, such as law, education and social sciences, psychology, medicine and politics. They all work on a voluntary basis.
Working methods and objectives
The focus of the work and central source of knowledge for the commission are nationwide hearings involving the survivors and eyewitnesses. To date, around 1,500 of these confidential hearings have been held and around 600 written reports have been received. The commission also conducts public hearings and holds specialist events as well as providing case studies and expertise on specific key issues.
The commission also prepares reports and recommendations for institutions, politics and society based on the descriptions given by the survivors and eyewitnesses. It also explains what needs to be changed so that sexual violence against children and adolescents can be prevented in the future and what can be done by politics and society to recognise the suffering experienced by the survivors.
Stories that count
The commission wants to give the survivors a voice and show their stories to everyone. This is why it launched a unique project in 2022: The “Stories that Count” online portal. The survivors’ pseudonymised reports are published there after close consultations with them. They report on the sexual violence they experienced in childhood and adolescence and the consequences of this abuse using their own words as well as the strength and courage needed to overcome what happened. The portal currently contains 100 stories and more will be added during the next few years.