Stories that count

What is the Inquiry into Sexual Abuse?

In 2016, on behalf of the federal government, the Independent Commissioner for Child Sexual Abuse Issues (ICCSAI) appointed an independent inquiry team to investigate child sexual abuse. The commission aims to investigate the extent, the underlying strategies and the consequences of the sexual abuse of children and young people, to reveal the mistakes made in the past and propose changes throughout society. The commission is examining all forms of sexual abuse of children in Germany.

How does the commission work?

The commission is listening to people throughout Germany who were sexually abused as children or youngsters. These survivors are given the opportunity to tell their story, give their testimony and raise awareness of this crime. Survivors are encouraged to get in touch and share their story. This can take place in three different forms:

  • In a written report
  • In a private session
  • In a public hearing

If you are interested in sharing your story in a written report you can complete an online questionnaire on the commission website which will also give you tips on how to write your report. The report will always be read and evaluated. All data will be treated confidentially, but you can also write and submit your report anonymously.

The private sessions are conducted in an informal setting and are carried out by the inquiry panel as well as specially qualified consultation teams throughout Germany who work in teams of two. Consultations also take place in Kiel and are headed by Birgitt Lüeße (attorney). On request, psychosocial support can also be provided by a counselling centre.

If you are interested in supporting the work of the commission you can get in touch with them. Details of how to do this and further information are available on the commission website at or by phone through the inquiry hotline on 0800 40 300 40 (free of charge and anonymous in Germany). Due to the great response, the programme is currently not offering any further private sessions but there is a waiting list. The commission is hoping to continue working after March 2019 and hence to be in a position to offer further sessions. The third option is public hearings during which specific issues are discussed in public. The dates for these hearings are published on the website

The basic principle of the commission and the panels

For the commission it is very important to emphasise that you do not need to prove anything in your statement and that it will not be challenged. The basic premise of the commission members is that they do not judge, that they believe your story as a survivor and that it is the duty of society to come to terms with the fact that in many cases people looked the other way and were silent. The commission’s guiding principle of “stories that count” aims to make society accept its responsibility and help to prevent sexual abuse more effectively in future.

The inquiry hotline can be reached on:
0800 40 300 40 (free of charge and anonymous in Germany)