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Childhood sex abuse decreasing, study says

Despite screaming headlines, sexual assaults of children in Germany have decreased over the past two decades, according to a large-scale new study.

Childhood sex abuse decreasing, study says
Photo: DPA

The Criminological Research Institute of Lower Saxony, an independent agency which promotes research that could prevent crime, was itself surprised by the results released this week, said its head Christian Pfeiffer.

“Contrary to all expectations, sexual abuse is decreasing dramatically,” Pfeiffer said.

The study, which included interviews of about 11,000 men and women between 16 and 40 years old, found 6.4 percent of women and 1.3 percent of men reported being sexually abused in childhood or adolescence. That’s compared to 8.6 of women and 2.8 percent of men in 1992, the last time a similar study was conducted.

Most alleged perpetrators were men, either acquaintances or from victims’ own families, according to the study. Nearly one in ten women said they had been abused by a teacher, but only one person mentioned being abused by a priest.

Experts attributed the results to increased willingness of society to discuss sex crimes and the consequent deterrent effect on possible perpetrators. The public has also become more sensitive to victims, Pfeiffer said.

“During the 1980s an average of every twelfth perpetrator was held accountable but now it is every third,” he said.

Victims’ advocates, however expressed scepticism about the research.

Norbert Denef of the Network of Those Affected by Sexual Violence said many victims repress their experiences and won’t admit what happened in a survey.

“Science must accept their helplessness instead of spending millions for such investigations,” he said.

Revelations that emerged in 2010 of sexual abuse in Germany’s Catholic church led to government promises to accelerate research into such crimes.

The Local/DAPD/mdm

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GERMANY AND ISRAEL

Germany in talks on further payout for 1972 Olympics victims

The German government says it is in talks over further compensation for victims of the attack on the Munich Olympics, as the 50th anniversary of the atrocity approaches.

Germany in talks on further payout for 1972 Olympics victims

Ahead of the commemoration in September, relatives of the Israelis killed have indicated they are unhappy with what Germany is offering.

“Conversations based on trust are taking place with representatives of the victims’ families,” a German interior ministry spokesman told AFP when asked about the negotiations.

He did not specify who would benefit or how much money had been earmarked, saying only that any package would “again” be financed by the federal government, the state of Bavaria and the city of Munich.

On September 5th, 1972, eight gunmen broke into the Israeli team’s flat at the Olympic village, shooting dead two and taking nine Israelis hostage, threatening to kill them unless 232 Palestinian prisoners were released.

West German police responded with a bungled rescue operation in which all nine hostages were killed, along with five of the eight hostage-takers and a police officer.

An armed police officer in a tracksuit secures the block where terrorists  held Israeli hostages at the Olympic Village in Munich on 5th September 1972.

An armed police officer in a tracksuit secures the block where terrorists held Israeli hostages at the Olympic Village in Munich on 5th September 1972. Photo: picture alliance / dpa | Horst Ossingert

The spokeswoman for the victims’ families, Ankie Spitzer, told the German media group RND that the amount currently on the table was “insulting” and threatened a boycott of this year’s commemorations.

She said Berlin was offering a total of €10 million including around €4.5 million already provided in compensation between 1972 and 2002 — an amount she said did not correspond to international standards. 

“We are angry and disappointed,” said Spitzer, the widow of fencing coach Andre Spitzer who was killed in the attack. “We never wanted to talk publicly about money but now we are forced to.”

RND reported that the German and Israeli governments would like to see an accord by August 15th.

The interior ministry spokesman said that beyond compensation, Germany intended to use the anniversary for fresh “historical appraisal, remembrance and recognition”.

He said this would include the formation of a commission of German and Israeli historians to “comprehensively” establish what happened “from the perspective of the year 2022”.

This would lead to “an offer of further acts of acknowledgement of the relatives of the victims of the attack” and the “grave consequences” they suffered.

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