The governing parties ÖVP and the Greens have agreed on tougher sentences for depicting child sexual abuse. In the case of multiple violations, the penalty will be significantly increased and minimum penalties – which did not exist until now – are also planned in the future.
A corresponding agreement will be decided on Wednesday in the Council of Ministers. Victim protection should also be expanded and child protection concepts should be made compulsory in schools, kindergartens and clubs. A child protection campaign across Austria is also part of the package. The reason for the aggravation is the Teichtmeister case, which has shocked the public, the cultural scene and politicians in recent weeks.
“Most Heinous Crimes”
“Depicting child sexual abuse is one of the most heinous crimes. Higher penalties are needed here, it is good that they are coming now,” said Chancellor Karl Nehammer (ÖVP). “False tolerance is totally out of place here, anyone who commits such crimes should know that as a society we act consistently and harshly,” he stressed.
Specifically, according to information from “Krone”, there is an increase in the threat of punishment for sex offenses against children and young people, regulated in Article 207a of the Criminal Code. Previously, possession of pornographic images by a consenting minor was punishable by up to one year in prison. This has now been increased to a maximum of two years. In the future, images of a minor person will be locked up for a maximum of three years instead of two.
Up to ten years in prison for manufacturing
In the future, there will be a minimum penalty for possession of a “multiplicity of statements”: the penalties range from a minimum of six months to three years, and for representations of minors up to five years in prison. Anyone who makes a large number of pornographic images of a minor or offers them to another person will be punished with a minimum of one year and a maximum of five years in prison. However, what exactly constitutes a “plural” has yet to be specified. If the images of sexual abuse have already been made for the purpose of distribution, they carry a prison sentence of up to ten years.
A gap is provided for the ban on activities: to allow for a complete ban on activities for offenders working with children and young people, the requirement of the activity or the intention to act at the time of the offense would not longer apply.
Abuse should not be downplayed
The government emphasizes that child abuse and its depiction should not be downplayed in any way. The criminal offenses must therefore also be adapted linguistically. The term CSAM (child sexual abuse material) is internationally established for depicting child abuse.