Inquiry Unabhängige Kommission zur Aufarbeitung sexuellen Kindesmissbrauchs

Alternative Names
  • Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse
Inquiry Type
Independent Commission

Key Dates

2 July 2015
Announcement date
26 January 2016 - 31 December 2023
Period of operation
31 January 2017 - 31 December 2022
Public hearings


The purpose of the Inquiry is to investigate all forms of child sexual abuse in Germany, including sexual abuse in institutions, by family members, in social environments, by unknown offenders, and in the context of organised crime.

It aims to uncover structures that enable sexual violence against children and adolescents. It recognises the injustice and suffering experienced by people who have been subject to sexual abuse and aims to initiate a broad political and social debate on a topic that remains taboo. The broad hope is that the Commission will bring about social change.

Originally appointed for the three years until 31 March 2019, the Bundestag in December 2018 extended the Inquiry's term for a further five years, until 31 December 2023. Commissioners work on a voluntary basis.

The Process
The Inquiry is conducting its investigation by means of public hearings, private sessions and written submissions.

Governing Legislation
The Commission was instituted by decision of the German Bundestag (2 July 2015)

Governing Authority
German Bundestag and the Independent Commissioner for Child Sexual Abuse Issues

Inquiry Locations
In larger cities across Germany

Public Hearings
Public hearings have been held to discuss key topics that arise from the confidential hearings. Survivors tell their stories in public, and representatives from politics, institutions, the media and the general public are invited to take part in discussion.

Public hearings held so far have dealt with sexual abuse in a family context in GDR and churches and their responsibility in dealing with child sexual abuse. Upcoming is a hearing on child sexual abuse in sport (scheduled for 13 October 2020).

Private Sessions
Private sessions are conducted in an informal setting at confidential locations. They are carried out throughout Germany by the inquiry panel and their consultation team. Hearing summaries are drafted in anonymous form, evaluated, and used by Commission reports.

Between September 2016 and June 2020, the Commission conducted 1,198 confidential hearings. As of June 2020, there were 680 registrations for further confidential hearings.

Case Studies
Case studies , based on the confidential hearings and written reports, on child sexual abuse in the Evangelical and Catholic Church, in German institutions (especially homes and youth work centres), and in German families, have been published by the Commission in December 2019 (Fallstudien zu sexuellem Kindesmissbrauch in der evangelischen und katholischen Kirche und in der DDR (Springer)).

Written Submissions
If survivors do not want a private session, they may share their stories in written form, which they submit by email or by post.

Between September 2016 and June 2020, the Commission received 254 written submissions.

Four of the the Commissioners have undertaken research projects dealing with different aspects of the Commission's work. The Commission has to date also commissioned five specialist studies thus far, including preliminary studies and case studies.


Book Sections

Edited Books

  • Geschichten, die zählen. Band I: Fallstudien zu sexuellem Kindesmissbrauch in der evangelischen und katholischen Kirche und in der DDR, Springer, 2019. Details


Acknowledgement: this summary was prepared by Katie Wright, La Trobe University