Status: 05/30/2022 11:55 a.m
In Germany, an average of 49 minors became victims of sexualised violence last year – per day. In addition, the police recorded significantly more depictions of child abuse.
Last year, more than 17,700 children and young people in Germany became victims of sexualised violence. That’s an average of 49 underage victims a day, said the President of the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA), Holger Münch. Together with the Federal Government Commissioner for Abuse, Kerstin Claus, he presented a special evaluation of the police crime statistics with detailed information on violence against children.
New dimension of brutality in cases of sexualized violence against children
Rupert Wiederwald, WDR, daily news at 2:00 p.m., May 30, 2022
According to this, 17,704 under-14s were victims of sexualised violence last year (2020: 16,921). 2281 of them were younger than six years. Cases of the distribution, acquisition, possession or production of so-called child pornography have more than doubled in the past year. 39,171 such cases were reported to the police. This corresponds to an increase of 108.8 percent (2020: 18,761). The number of cases of distribution or possession of youth pornography increased to 5105 (2020: 3107).
Significantly more underage suspects
According to police statistics, the number of children and young people who spread, owned or produced depictions of abuse, especially on social media, has increased more than tenfold in Germany since 2018. At that time there were 1,373 underage suspects, but their number rose to 14,528 last year.
Most minors are not aware that possession or forwarding is a punishable offense, said Claus. There is also a lack of awareness that serious and very serious acts of violence are being committed against other children and young people. Above all, parents and schools are called upon to find pedagogical answers.
“Europe has become a hub”
For several years, the police, with the help of the US National Center of Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), have been able to shed more light on the presumably large dark field of child abuse. The NCMEC transmits data to the BKA in the event of crimes discovered with a crime scene in Germany. According to BKA President Münch, the authorities are also receiving more evidence of child sexual abuse. “We very much welcome this: the most serious acts of violence against children and young people, as the weakest members of society, must be proscribed, prosecuted and ended.”
Claus said the number of cases was startling but expected. She complained that Europe had become the hub for the distribution of abuse images. According to the Federal Criminal Police Office, around 60 percent of the depictions of abuse by children and young people that are distributed worldwide on the Internet are stored on European servers. “We need greater European cooperation and significantly more investment in the human and technological equipment of the investigative authorities. Every successful investigation is important because it offers the opportunity to stop acute child abuse and prevent further acts.”
In addition, Claus said that the unknown extent of the unreported cases means that it is not possible to say whether the number of cases is actually increasing or whether the increase in the number of cases is due to more successful investigations. She renewed her call for more exploration of the dark field. The current figures do not reflect the actual extent of sexualized violence, said the independent commissioner for questions of child sexual abuse.
Children’s aid calls increase “alarming”
The German Children’s Aid called for measures to improve the protection of children. The increase in crime figures in the area of sexualized violence against children is “alarming”. A shortcoming is still the legal hurdles in the prosecution of the perpetrators. Since the storage of IP addresses by telecommunications providers is not permitted, the investigators are often unable to determine their identity.
Federal Minister of the Interior Nancy Faeser had already warned of an “urgent need for action” in the fight against the sexual abuse of children on the Internet. “We urgently need to protect the children,” said the SPD politician Report from Berlin. It is “one of the worst forms of crime”.
“There’s no need for us to jump into private chats without a reason”
Report from Berlin, May 29, 2022