Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

BUSINESS DAILY

France's Iliad reaches for T-Mobile

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Is Poor Military Training Causing a Larger Death Toll in Gaza?

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Ebola death toll tops 700

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Villepin Criticises France for Not Speaking Out on Gaza

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

UNRWA official breaks down over Gaza deaths

Read more

DEBATE

Argentina Defaults: Kirchner Cries Foul Over 'Vulture Funds' (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

Argentina Defaults: Kirchner Cries Foul Over 'Vulture Funds'

Read more

THE BUSINESS INTERVIEW

War and Markets, with Steen Jakobsen, Chief Economist at Saxo Bank

Read more

FOCUS

Constitution prohibits Aung San Suu Kyi from running for president

Read more

  • Live: Israeli soldier feared captured, ceasefire 'over'

    Read more

  • Regional summit to tackle deadly Ebola outbreak

    Read more

  • €2.5mn of cocaine ‘disappears’ from Paris police HQ

    Read more

  • Interactive: France’s new plan to counter jihadism in Africa

    Read more

  • Ukrainian army suffers losses in separatist attack

    Read more

  • Dozens killed and injured in Taiwan gas blast

    Read more

  • Argentinian markets plummet following default

    Read more

  • French Jews speak of growing fear in Paris amid Gaza conflict

    Read more

  • Video: Inside Hamas ‘terror’ tunnels in Gaza

    Read more

  • Sierra Leone declares state of emergency over spread of Ebola

    Read more

  • France remembers murdered socialist hero Jean Jaurès

    Read more

  • Air France ground workers to strike on August 2

    Read more

  • Scores feared dead in India landslide

    Read more

  • Russia ordered to pay further €1.9bn to Yukos shareholders

    Read more

  • Russia defiant as US, EU unveil 'phase three' sanctions

    Read more

Europe

Church's new sex abuse hotline flooded with calls

Text by Sébastian SEIBT

Latest update : 2010-04-01

On the first day it was operational, a new hotline for sexual abuse victims launched by Germany’s Catholic Church on Tuesday received some 1,000 calls as the church struggles to recover from allegations of clerical abuse.

A new hotline for those claiming they were abused by clergy launched by the German Catholic Church on Tuesday received around a thousand calls on its first day of operation. The Catholic Church is struggling to recover from a series of allegations that priests have sexually abused children for decades.  

“It should be noted that the there were many more calls than one would have thought,” said Nina Schmedding, a spokesperson for the conference of German bishops, in an interview with FRANCE 24.
 
The hotline has already registered some 4,500 attempted calls, although this number includes callers who were forced to try several times before reaching a sympathetic ear. The church estimates that some 1,000 of these calls eventually spoke to a church representative.
 
“Among these calls, 162 resulted in talks with a counsellor or psychologist,” Schmedding said. The others the vast majority – were simply offering congratulations for introducing this free service, with most calls lasting between five minutes and one hour, she said. 
 
It remains to be seen to what use the hotline will eventually be put, and whether it will help the church regain its stature with the public after the revelations. “We will need to wait about a week before we can know exactly who is calling and what actions followed these calls,” Schmedding said.
 
In an official statement published on Wednesday, Doctor Andreas Zimmer, who is in charge of the hotline’s team of counsellors, said most of the 162 calls were from “either victims of abuse themselves or close relations of the abused calling on their behalf”.
 
Church in crisis
 
In Germany, the scandal over sexual abuse committed by priests has a particular resonance, partly because Pope Benedict, born Joseph Alois Ratzinger, is originally of German origin. Moreover, says a leading article published in the Frankfurter Allgemeine on Wednesday, “barely a day goes by without a new revelation”.
 
The launch of the hotline also has its critics, who question the wisdom of having the church – which has already been accused of helping cover up reports of abuse – control these new disclosures.
 
The church is indeed contending with a severe blow to its image among the German public. According to a Wednesday survey published in Die Welt, one in five Catholics has considered leaving the church since the start of the scandal while only 31 percent say the current pope is doing a good job.
 

 

Date created : 2010-04-01

  • VATICAN

    Church decries 'efforts' to link pope to paedophilia scandal

    Read more

  • VATICAN

    Paedophilia cases rock Catholic Church around the world

    Read more

  • ITALY

    Vatican stands by churches' reaction to child sex abuse scandals

    Read more

COMMENT(S)