Sexual abuse of children is increasing
In the past year, more than 17,700 children and young people in Germany became victims of sexualized violence. As the President of Federal Criminal Police Office Holger Münch announced on Monday that this corresponds to an average of 49 underage victims per day. Together with the Federal Government Commissioner for Abuse, Kerstin Claus, he presented a special evaluation of the police crime statistics with detailed information on violence against children. According to this, 17,704 children under the age of 14 were victims of abuse last year, 2,281 of them were younger than six years.
According to police crime statistics, cases of child sexual abuse increased by 6.3 percent to over 15,500 cases last year. Cases of distribution, acquisition, possession or production of so-called child pornography have more than doubled in the past year. The police have registered 39,171 such cases, up from 18,761 in 2020. The number of cases of distribution or possession of youth pornography increased to 5,105; in the previous year, the police had discovered 3107 cases.
These numbers reflect the bright field, i.e. the offenses that have become known to the police and have been determined by them. “We still have no reliable figures on the dark field,” criticized the abuse officer Claus. Due to the lack of reference values, it is not clear how successful the investigations into sexual violence against children are at the moment. Claus called for the establishment of a research center for the continuous and long-term collection of analysis data on the dark field of sexual violence against children in Germany.
She also advocated much closer cooperation between law enforcement agencies in Europe. “Europe has become the hub for the dissemination of abuse images,” explained Claus. According to the Federal Criminal Police Office, around 60 percent of the depictions of abuse by children and young people that are distributed worldwide on the Internet are stored on European servers.