Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

AFRICA NEWS

Mali: Jihadist group announces death of french hostage

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Tutu cautions ANC: South African peace laureate criticizes ruling party

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Clamping down on jihad propaganda online

Read more

DEBATE

Homegrown Jihadists: France Sets Out Plan to Monitor Web and Support Families (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

Homegrown Jihadists: France Sets Out Plan to Monitor Web and Support Families

Read more

WEB NEWS

Ukrainians turn Russian 'evidence' into meme

Read more

FOCUS

Copenhagen seeks to decriminalise use of cannabis

Read more

FACE-OFF

French president's advisor resigns: A new blow for François Hollande

Read more

ENCORE!

Films as plays, plays as films and TV at the cinema

Read more

  • Fatah, Hamas agree to form Palestinian unity government

    Read more

  • UN: Millions of Syrians desperately need aid

    Read more

  • Muslims in CAR pray for an escape route

    Read more

  • US soldiers arrive in Poland as Ukraine crisis continues

    Read more

  • Madrid beat Bayern 1-0 in first leg of Champions League semis

    Read more

  • New far-right mayor moves to quash Paris region mosque

    Read more

  • Britain's ex-PM Blair warns against spread of radical Islam

    Read more

  • Turkish PM offers condolences to descendants of Armenians killed in 1915

    Read more

  • Gay marriage, one year on: ‘French civilisation did not crumble’

    Read more

  • Colombian president reinstates firebrand Bogota mayor

    Read more

  • NYPD public relations campaign on Twitter goes awry

    Read more

  • In pictures: Violent protests erupt in Rio

    Read more

  • French hostage Gilberto Rodrigues Leal has died, Islamists say

    Read more

  • 'Pope-mania' hits John Paul II's Polish hometown

    Read more

  • French actress Catherine Deneuve to sell €4 million château

    Read more

  • Chelsea, Atletico draw 0-0 in first leg of Champions League semis

    Read more

  • Ukraine to relaunch offensive in the east after politican 'tortured'

    Read more

  • Echoes of 2pac and Biggie? French rap feud turns violent

    Read more

  • New French film tackles grisly anti-Semitic murder

    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

Comments

COMMENT(S)