Germany reports rise of child sex abuse, depiction of abuse

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BERLIN (AP) — German police recorded a significant increase of depictions of sexual abuse against children last year compared to the year before, the country's top criminal police official said Monday.

More than 39,000 cases — or an increase of 108.8% — came to the attention of authorities last year, according to a special analysis of police crime statistics presented to reporters in Berlin. Those cases include the distribution, acquisition, possession and production of depictions of sexual violence against children and teenagers.

According to the report, known cases of child sexual abuse rose by 6.3% last year to more than 15,500. The annual figures only cover the fraction of cases that the police are aware of, the real figures are expected to be much higher, Holger Muench, the head of Germany's Federal Criminal Police Office said.

Authorities estimate that one to two students per each school class in Germany are affected by sexual violence.

Muench also said that more people are reporting suspicions of child abuse than in the past.

“We very much welcome this: serious acts of violence against children and young people, as the weakest members of society, must be particularly outlawed, prosecuted and brought to an end,” he said.

Germany's Independent Commissioner on Child Sexual Abuse, Kerstin Claus, pointed out that Europe has become a hub for the dissemination of abuse images.

“We need increased European cooperation and significantly more investment in the human and technological resources of the investigating authorities," she demanded. "Every investigative success is important because it offers the chance to stop acute child abuse and prevent further acts.”

The Associated Press

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