State protection available for victims of child abuse [DEU36318.E]

General information concerning measures taken by the state to combat the abuse of children may be found in the Initial Report of Germany to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child (16 Sept. 1994):

I. Abuse and neglect (art. 19), including physical and psychological recovery and social reintegration (art. 39)
59. The measures stipulated in article 19 of the Convention to protect children from violence, abuse or neglect while they are in the care of parents or any other persons having custody are ensured under the national law of the Federal Republic of Germany through a multitude of legal provisions.
60. The objectives stated in paragraph 1 of article 19 are especially served by the numerous and varied forms of assistance provided within the framework of Book Eight of the Social Code - Child and Youth Services. In addition, protective measures are above all undertaken in the Federal Republic of Germany on the basis of the Act for the Protection of Young Persons in Public and the Act on the Dissemination of Publications Harmful to Young Persons. Children and juveniles furthermore enjoy special protection under criminal law from the dangers threatening them in the family. Particularly worthy of mention in this context are the following pertinent provisions of the Criminal Code: section 223b (Abuse of Charges), section 170d (Violation of the Duty of Care and Custody), section 174 (Sexual Abuse of Charges), section 176 (Sexual Abuse of Children), section 177 (Rape), section 178 (Sexual Coercion), section 179 (Sexual Abuse of Persons Unable to Resist) and section 180b, subsection 2, No. 2 (Traffic in Human Beings with Persons under the Age of 21). Under civil law, section 1631, subsection 2, of the Civil Code stipulates that parents and other persons having the right of care and custody of children are prohibited from utilizing degrading disciplinary measures. According to a draft bill which is currently the subject of parliamentary debate, this provision is to be worded more precisely in order to make a clearer distinction between permissible and prohibited measures - and especially to establish the impermissibility of physical and emotional abuse.
61. The protective measures mentioned in article 19, paragraph 2, of the Convention, which are to serve to ensure the protection from violence, abuse and neglect stipulated in paragraph 1, are provided for under national law above all by Book Eight of the Social Code - Child and Youth Services. Book Eight contains a multitude of general beneficial services and individual socio-educational grants; the purpose of these is to furnish guidance and support for parents and other persons having parental powers in the exercise of their child-rearing responsibilities, as well as to protect children and juveniles from threats to their well-being. Mobile forms of socio-educational assistance (socio-educational family help, for instance) are a key area of activity. Socio-educational family help is designed to provide intensive care and accompaniment to help families fulfil their educational tasks, cope with everyday problems, solve conflicts and crises, and use the services of authorities and institutions, and thus generally helps them to help themselves (sect. 31 of Book Eight of the Social Code). In cases involving acute conflicts, children and juveniles may also receive counsel without the knowledge of the person who has the right of care and custody (sect. 8, subsect. 3, of Book Eight of the Social Code), and the Youth Welfare Office is obliged to provide shelter and protection for a child or juvenile if the situation so requires (sect. 42, subsects. 2 and 3, of Book Eight of the Social Code). If restriction or revocation of the right of care and custody is necessary, the matter is to be brought before the guardianship court, which is charged with taking the necessary measures pursuant to section 1666 of the Civil Code.
62. To the extent article 39 of the Convention, in support of the foregoing, calls for appropriate measures to promote physical and psychological recovery and social reintegration, such demand is met under national law especially by section 5 of Book One of the Social Code if in a specific instance the facts of the case fulfil the requirements for application of the law of social compensation stipulated therein (especially the Crime Victims Compensation Act (OEG) and the Federal Communicable Diseases Act could conceivably apply) and if injury to health has consequently resulted. Reference should also be made in this context to the forms of socio-educational assistance stipulated in Book Eight of the Social Code - Child and Youth Services.

Additional legislation on the protection of children in Germany includes the provisions of the Civil Code on the age of consent for marriage, Penal Code provisions on rape, incest, sexual abuse of minors and children, child prostitution, trafficking and pornography (ASEM n.d.). In a 13 January 1998 report by the Special Rapporteur on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography additional comments were made regarding Germany's efforts to combat child sexual abuse:

20. Germany has launched a new drive against child abuse, child pornography and sex tourism, combining tougher sentencing with preventive educational schemes. The Ministry of Youth has launched educational films, comics and pamphlets for children and parents and intends to increase the number of telephone hotlines. More funds are to be allocated for training teachers, police officers, lawyers, medical personnel and tour guides to raise awareness of the problems of child sex abuse.

There are Child Protection Centres in sixteen German cities intended "to provide support to families who are involved in mental, physical, sexual abuse and the neglect of children" (Die Kinderschutz-Zentren n.d.). Attendance at the centres is voluntary and the services are offered at no charge. The objectives of the centres are "to work toward the reduction and prevention of the maltreatment of children and violence towards them" (ibid.).

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.


ASEM Resource Centre Child Welfare Initiative. n.d. "Summary of Legislation on Child Abuse in Germany." [Accessed 26 Jan. 2001]

Die Kindershutz-Zentren. n.d. "The Child Protection Centres." [Accessed 26 Jan. 2001]
United Nations. Commission on Human Rights. 13 January 1998. (E/CN.4/1998/101)

Report of the Special Rapporteur on the Sale of children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography.

_____. Committee on the Rights of the Child. 16 September 1994. (CRC/C/11/Add.5)

Initial reports of States parties due in 1994: Germany.

Additional Sources Consulted

IRB Databases.

Internet sites, including:

Australasian Legal Information Institute: World: Germany

Centre for Europe's Children

Council of Europe


The German Law Archive