Youth State Secretary Claudia Plakolm (ÖVP) calls for a change in the law in the event of abuse: convicts are no longer allowed to work in childcare. Greens and children’s rights representatives refer to pre-existing concepts and also to the importance of prevention.
Hardly any subject is as close as child abuse. It unites all parties. Yet there are differences. State Secretary for Youth Claudia Plakolm: “We need a general ban on professional activities. People who have abused children and young people have no place in youth work.” Until now, however, this only applies if the offense took place during youth work. Not for this.
Plakolm calls on Justice Minister Alma Zadic (Greens), who has a broader approach. In addition to prohibitions, prevention is also one of them. So that it doesn’t go to the extreme. However, Plakolm says: “We need a law that prevents child molesters from hanging out in youth camps at all.” There are numbers. In 2021, there were 1,298 convictions for sexual offenses against minors or the disabled. No activity bans. In 2020 there were 1091 (no information about bans). In 2019, there were 997 cases with 2 banned. Many potential child molesters are therefore on their way.
Green counter: “There are already drafts”
In addition to legislative change, Plakolm advocates a comprehensive child protection concept. “It already exists”, says Elisabeth Schaffelhofer-Garcia of the network “Children’s Rights Austria” and also advocates that people with previous convictions should no longer be allowed to work with children. “But that doesn’t address the first offenders and doesn’t change the problem.” You need to implement concepts – what should parents and children pay attention to. Barbara Neßler, youth spokeswoman for the Greens, says: “I don’t understand why the ÖVP is fighting against a federal child protection law. There should be no fake solutions here. They are at the expense of the safety of our children.”
Looking for a common solution
Nessler also says that there are already model concepts that are already in use. Elisabeth Schaffelhofer-Garcia cites as examples ‘Young groups and children’s friends’, which she believes all have the same goal. The Youth State Secretary and the Minister of Justice must also find common access. The subject is too important. Besides. Today, September 20, is World Children’s Day. Time for more than one calendar item.