The Archdiocese of Freiburg, in Germany, is to offer monthly compensation payments to clergy abuse survivors.

Driving the news

According to a new archdiocesan order announced December 12 – and to come into force January 1 – clerical sex abuse victims can receive 800 euros a month in restitutions and a one-off payment of up to 300,000 euros.

The new Freiburg abuse compensation model was developed in direct consultation with survivors.

With the new measures, the archdiocese recognises that sex aggressions committed against minors can have long-term consequences on a victim’s health and employment prospects.

The Freiburg archdiocesan protocol for survivors – the first in Germany to go so far – also includes support for therapy for victims and the establishment of an association for survivors.

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The new Freiburg archdiocesan helps to survivors come just days after the German Bishops’ Conference revised their regulations on the prevention of and responses to clergy sex abuse.

Among other measures, the revised regulations – to come into force in the New Year – move to defining sex abuse as a “crime” in all cases and to expanding Church responsibility for perpetrators, who will now include not only priests and religious but also Church volunteers.

Why it matters

The revised anti-sex abuse regulations of the German Bishops – which will apply not only to dioceses but also, and expressly, to new Church movements – also now explicitly speak of “victims” instead of the “affected”.

They also avoid using the term “suspected” cases of abuse, to underline the fact that survivors are to be met not with disbelief but with an “attentive” attitude.

One other notable feature of the German Bishops’ new anti-abuse guidelines is their pledge to investigate cases of clergy sex abuse even in which the alleged perpetrator is deceased.

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