Amid growing reports of sexual abuse and scandals, Germany’s Catholic Church has launched a sexual abuse helpline, which has angered one organization who helps those victims. However, on its first day the hotline received 1,000 calls.
Trier, Germany – The Roman Catholic Church in Germany launched a telephone hotline for those victims who have been sexually abused by Roman Catholic priests on Tuesday, according to BBC News. A NBC News report shows that the hotline received more than 1,000 calls on its first day.
The helpline, which is based in the western city of Trier, appointed the church’s bishop, Stephen Ackerman, for handling the investigations of any allegations made against its clergy, “We want to be responsive, we want to know what has been suffered and want to support those affected,” said Ackerman.
Many people believe the church should be a last resort to report sexual abuse as they should first contact either police or family members, according to David Clohessy of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, “Victims should tell loved ones and police first. Victims should tell loved ones and police first.”
Deustche Welle reports that the free telephone line will be staffed by counseling psychologists and social workers who have experience in the field of sexual abuse therapy and those employees will act on their professional experience not to the directions of the church.
Calls can be made for seven hours between Tuesday and Thursday afternoons and one can leave a message outside of those designated hours.
According to the Daily Beast, leaders of SNAP issued a global press release denouncing the hotline and said it’s not useful for victims and survivors:
“We urge victims to not call this phone number, for their sake and the sake of others. Reports of abuse should go to the independent professionals in law enforcement, not the biased, self-serving staff in chancery offices.”
March 31, 2010
Source: Digital Journal
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– Australian Bishop says ‘vast amount’ of sexual abuse cases yet to emerge (Sydney Morning Herald)
– Deaf Boys Tried to Tell of Priest’s Abuse FOR YEARS (New York Times)
– Christopher Hitchens Slams Vatican, Pope Over Sex Abuse Scandal (Huffington Post)
– The Pope Is Not Above the Law (Slate)
– Sex Abuse Victims to Sue Vatican (Times)
– Vatican knew of abuse in Ontario: Victim (Toronto Star)
– A church sex scandal where the truth is crucified (Toronto Star)
– Catholic Church quietly expelling and punishing children, homeless (Irish Central)
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– Catholic Church Child Abuse: Nuns Now Also Accused (Radio Netherlands Worldwide)
– Church: Pope Had Role in Moving Molesting Priest (Bloomberg)
– Pope will struggle to survive abuse scandal (Irish Independent)
– Benedict’s involvement ’shows extent of cover-ups’ (Irish Independent)
– Sinead O’Connor: I’d help Jesus to burn down the Vatican (Irish Independent)