World Now up to 15 years imprisonment possible: Federal government decides tougher penalties for child abuse

13:55  21 october  2020
13:55  21 october  2020 Source:   tagesspiegel.de

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Sexual violence against children is no longer considered a misdemeanor, but a crime. In particular, the distribution of child pornography is punished more severely.

Das Bundeskabinett hat den Gesetzentwurf von Justizministerin Christine Lambrecht (M.) zum Kindesmissbrauch beschlossen. © Photo: Imago The Federal Cabinet has passed Justice Minister Christine Lambrecht's (center) draft law on child abuse.

The Federal Cabinet passed a bill on Wednesday in Berlin for more severe penalties for sexual violence against children . In particular, the distribution of so-called child pornography is punished more severely.

The draft also provides for more effective law enforcement, more prevention and better qualification of the judicial authorities. In order to clearly identify the injustice of the offenses, in future the penal code will no longer say “sexual abuse of children” but “sexualised violence against children”.

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The deeds are no longer considered an offense, but a crime. The choice of words “abuse” is inappropriate because it suggests that there is also a legal “use of children”, according to the reasoning behind the concept.

The distribution and possession of pictures and films that show sexual violence against children should be punished with imprisonment for between one year and 15 years. Previously, perpetrators were threatened with imprisonment between six months and ten years.

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Federal Justice Minister Christine Lambrecht (SPD) explained that the cabinet had decided on a comprehensive package “to fight these atrocities with all its might and better protect children.” Bavaria announced even before the federal cabinet meeting that the penalty for distributing child pornography would not go far enough.

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Justice Minister Georg Eisenreich (CSU) pleads for at least three years imprisonment if someone “runs a forum that serves a large number of people to exchange or distribute child pornography”, as he told Bayerischer Rundfunk. Lambrecht's bill only provides for one year in prison. Eisenreich argued: "Anyone who runs a marketplace for pedo criminals belongs behind bars for several years."

The debate about tougher penalties had been reignited by the abuse cases in Bergisch Gladbach and in Münster, which now had 21 suspects. Federal Justice Minister Lambrecht initially rejected such demands from the Union and instead called for better equipment for investigators, but changed her course after persistent criticism.

The draft also provides for the introduction of special qualification requirements for family judges. The focus is on basic psychological and pedagogical knowledge that is required of them. You would have to train accordingly.

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Pretrial detention easier to enforce for accused

For more effective criminal prosecution, should in future also be able to monitor telecommunications equipment in the case of investigations into the procuring or possession of child pornography. In the case of severe sexual violence, the accused should be able to be taken into custody even if there is no risk of escape or blackout.

"The draft law is the right answer to terrible cases of abuse because it focuses on prevention in addition to significantly tightening the penalties," said SPD Bundestag members Dirk Wiese and Johannes Fechner. Since the crimes often take place within the family, family judges are needed who can immediately identify dangerous situations. That is why the training courses are sensible.

The right-wing Union parliamentary group spokesman Jan-Marco Luczak (CDU) described the draft as a "milestone in the struggle for better protection of our children against sexual abuse". The extension of the penalty framework is good and overdue. After all, victims of child sexual abuse are often traumatized for life. (epd, dpa)

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