Cabinet clamps down on child image possession

People caught in possession of indecent images of children will face tougher prison sentences, the government announced on Wednesday.

Cabinet clamps down on child image possession
Justice Minister Heiko Maas. Photo: DPA

The cabinet agreed on a draft law from justice minister Heiko Maas, which raises the maximum sentence for possessing indecent images of children from two to three years.

The definition of indecent images of children was also clarified to include so called “posing pictures” and photos taken without the child being aware that they were being photographed.

Maas’s move comes after one of his party colleagues, Sebastian Edathy was charged with possessing indecent images of children. The case lead to the resignation of a government minister and provoked a debate in Germany about images of children. 

Police unions warmly greeted the move, but Family Minister Manuela Schwesig sounded a cautious note in Tagesspiegel, telling the newspaper that a law is only as good as the people who implement it. She warned police were overburdened.

The age at which victims can report historic child sex abuse as adults will also be increased from 21 to 30 years old by the law.

“Victims of sexual acts are often severely traumatized and need time to process what has happened and to be able to deal with the criminal justice system,” Maas said. 

SEE ALSO: Police raid homes in child abuse probe

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