Kindesmissbrauch Gesellschaft: Familie, Kriminalität, Kindesmissbrauch: Ein Mädchen versteckt ihr Gesicht in einem Teddybär und sucht Trost. Der Bundesrat hat am 9.10.2020 einen Gesetzentwurf aus Nordrhein-Westfalen beschlossen, der einen besseren Datenaustausch zwischen Strafverfolgungsbehörden und den Jugendämtern zum Ziel hat. Der Entwurf wird nun in den Bundestag eingebracht. Rietberg Nordrhein-Westfalen Deutschland *** Child Abuse Society Family, Crime, Child Abuse A girl hides her face in a teddy bear looking for comfort On 9 10 2020, the Bundesrat passed a bill from North Rhine-Westphalia that aims to improve the exchange of data between law enforcement agencies and youth welfare offices The bill will now be submitted to the Bu Copyright: xInderlied/Kirchner-Mediax

There are alarming numbers: On Tuesday, the Berlin-Brandenburg Statistics Office published new data on child welfare risks. In 2021, youth welfare offices in Berlin and Brandenburg conducted a total of 28,115 procedures to assess the risk to child welfare, 20,632 of them in Berlin and 7,483 in Brandenburg.

In Berlin, the numbers have risen continuously since 2017, most recently by 10 percent compared to 2020. It cannot be said with certainty to what extent the pandemic had a particular impact on the increase. In Brandenburg, the number of cases even fell by 8 percent last year.

But experts in youth welfare are feeling the effects of the corona crisis in their work. Annette Knor, psychotherapist for children and young people from the Child Protection Association, describes the pandemic as a burning glass.

“Inquiries have increased in recent years. Families who come to our advice center often have problems communicating non-violently. What could not be regulated externally due to the corona restrictions took place within the family. This led to more problems with verbal and physical abuse, alcohol or drugs.”

A particular problem is the suppressed needs of children, explains Knor. “If parents forbid the children to visit grandma, for example, needs are suppressed. The children develop fears from this: they don’t want to make grandma sick. If a caregiver forbids something, the need is still there. If a child suppresses needs himself , it affects his development.” This can lead to depressive moods and the children have to relearn their behavior, for example in therapy.

Almost every second case from Berlin points to an acute or latent danger to the children or young people; in Brandenburg every third. In these cases, the physical, mental or emotional well-being of those affected has already been damaged or it cannot be ruled out that this will happen.

The most common is neglect (57 percent), followed by psychological (26 percent) and physical (14 percent) abuse and sexual violence (3 percent). The proportions are similar in Brandenburg.

According to the Statistics Office, the police or judicial authorities inform the youth welfare office in most cases (Berlin: 31 percent, Brandenburg: 19 percent). This is followed by day-care centers and schools (Berlin: 19 percent, Brandenburg: 13 percent).

The remaining cases are initiated anonymously, by relatives, acquaintances and neighbors, or by the minors or parents or legal guardians themselves.

“During the pandemic, schools were no longer an important point of contact,” says Ines Dommann. She is child protection officer at the independent organization “Children Learn Life (KileLe)” in Berlin. “Many cases therefore remained undetected for a long time. It was also a great challenge for us to teach the children in the facilities.”

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KileLe operates several dormitories in Berlin and looks after young people who cannot live with their parents. Ines Dommann and her team intervene when the cases have already been submitted to the youth welfare office and a decision has to be made as to whether children or young people should be admitted to the KileLe crisis facilities. “Our goal is to bring the children back to their parents. We want to ensure that parents can raise and care for their children in order to avert the danger,” says Dommann.

She demands that independent youth welfare organizations receive more support. “We need more staff. We have to finance additional staff ourselves and our employees do not receive any corona allowances. We should be treated on an equal footing with the public service.”