DUsseldorf (dpa/lnw) – Should elections win in North Rhine-Westphalia, the SPD wants to make child protection training mandatory for teachers, educators, police officers, judges and other professional groups. This was announced by Thomas Kochati, the leading SPD candidate for the May 15 state elections. Under the title “Listen to children better – professionalizing staff,” he presented a five-point plan to protect children more effectively on Tuesday in Düsseldorf.
Kuschaty explained that the program is a lesson from the series of horrific abuses that have finally been revealed at NRW since 2019 – along with crime scenes such as Lügde, Münster or Bergisch Gladbach. The frightening conclusion is: “In a suspected case, a child would have to talk to an average of seven people before being believed.” It cannot remain like this.
In order for child protection to be seen more from the perspective of those affected in the future, rather than simply working through structures, the approach of youth welfare offices must also be professionalised. Committee Chairman Martin Burchill (SPD) summed up the Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry into Child Abuse, which examined the work of youth welfare offices, the police, the judiciary and other institutions, by revealing “glaring shortcomings”. In the abuse complex for hundreds of crimes at the camp site in Lugde, Libya, “the formalities were often addressed at best.”
The SPD is now considering, despite the municipal autonomy in this area, how to establish specialized state-regulated supervision of youth welfare offices, despite the municipal autonomy in this area, said the head of the Parliamentary Family Committee, Wolfgang Jörg. The Social Democrats also want the NRW Children’s Representative to be a point of contact for all those affected and as a coordinator for local ombudsman offices that operate independently of youth welfare offices.
The State Parliament’s Child Protection Committee has complained that the state’s 186 youth welfare offices operate quite differently. Staff and workload are distributed unevenly, and standards of state law are missing, council president Britta Altenkamp (SPD) complained.
Kuschaty wants to implement child protection units in training and further education in several professions that have a great relationship with children and youth. The former Minister of Justice in North Rhine-Westphalia stressed that this would make it mandatory. It’s also about treating victims empathetically, taking care of staff and avoiding unnecessary multiple questioning, Burchill stressed, so that abused children don’t have to feel victimized again in the authorities.
“We have to learn to look, and to correctly interpret the signals,” explained Wolfgang Jörg. The profiles and strategies of the perpetrators must be better known. The goal is that those who work in such professions must pass the appropriate training modules – “otherwise there will be no recognition from the state”.
Family Minister NRW Joachim Stamp (FDP) referred to an action plan that includes 66 actions the state government has already launched in combating sexual violence against children. Thanks to significantly increased funding, specialist advice can now be provided throughout NRW.
As a result of the change in the law, every school now has to create a concept of protection against violence and sexual assault. To support school psychological services, the number of jobs has been increased by 100. In addition, the protection of victims has been strengthened.
“Sexual violence against children and young people is a heinous crime,” Stump said in a statement. The struggle against it is a challenge to society as a whole. “Therefore, it is incumbent upon each of us to take a closer look, listen and report suspected cases immediately,” Stump emphasized.
Christina Schulz-Foking, a child protection expert with the CDU’s parliamentary group, sees nothing new in the SPD’s demands, but a “watered-down version of the existing child protection law” and the state government’s action plan.
© dpa-infocom, dpa: 220419-99-963970 / 4