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SOS Children's Villages: Suspected scandal of abuse in 20 countries - including Germany

2021-05-08T21:26:56.990Z

In 20 countries, children and young people are said to have experienced abuse in SOS Children's Village Aid facilities. An independent commission is to clarify the incidents.



In 20 countries, children and young people are said to have experienced abuse in SOS Children's Village Aid facilities.

An independent commission is to clarify the incidents.

Vienna - “In an atmosphere of trust and reliability”, children and young people should grow up in SOS Children's Villages. At least that's what it says on the organization's website. In 20 countries in Asia and Africa, however, young people are said to have become victims of violence and sexual abuse in institutions and projects. The aid organization made the child protection violations public on Thursday in Austria and set up an independent commission to deal with the incidents. According to its own information, indications of mismanagement and misappropriation of funds should also be investigated.

At first it was not known exactly which countries are involved.

The sub-organization in Germany announced in a press release on Thursday that there were also allegations against employees of a facility in Bavaria.

These relate to incidents in the 2000s.

A work-up has been initiated.

"The information available, as well as the results from the first discussions that have already taken place, show that there were serious incidents of educational misconduct and allegations of abuse," explains Prof. Dr.

Keupp, who leads the investigation.

Results are planned for autumn 2021.

SOS Children's Villages apologize to alleged victims of abuse

The number of victims is said to be rather small worldwide.

The managing director of SOS Children's Villages in Austria, Elisabeth Hauser, spoke of "serious misconduct by employees and serious allegations".

The children concerned had been “violated”, and had “been mistreated and even sexually abused”.

Hauser assured a "relentless and transparent processing" of the incidents.

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The managing director of the international umbrella organization, Ingrid Maria Johansen, also apologized to the victims.

She was "deeply saddened that there have been cases within the organization where some of us have not kept our promise to protect the children."

She announced "new measures" to address the issues.

The incidents are said to date back to the 1990s.

The most recent cases, however, have arguably happened recently.

Enlightenment suppressed?

Part of the management team could have been informed a long time ago

The cases became known through an external review in November 2020. However, it is possible that some people had been informed internally for some time. According to their own information, the SOS Children's Villages started their first investigation three years ago. "There are also allegations that executives from SOS Children's Villages International were aware of some of the incidents and that the processing and persecution was suppressed," said Hauser. At SOS Children's Villages International there were blatant "weaknesses in the organization".

The commission of inquiry, headed by a politician, is supposed to clarify in which cases personal consequences have to be drawn or criminal investigations have to be initiated. In addition, the commission should develop recommendations for structural changes. Results should be available in the second half of 2022. According to the information, a compensation fund “worth millions” was set up for the victims.

(mam / AFP)

Source: merkur

All news articles on 2021-05-08

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