Staufen Abuse Case: Welfare Office Proposes Changes
In the Staufen abuse case that caught the public’s attention after the takedown of the darkweb chatroom Tabooless Chat and the darkweb child abuse forum Elysium, the court ruled that the Youth Welfare Office shared some of the blame due to a systematic failure to prevent the offender from living with his victim.
Following the sentencing of the suspects, the Youth Welfare Office discussed the shortcomings that led to their failure and made changes in an effort to prevent future events similar to the Staufen abuse case.
Information available from various sources was not passed on [to the Youth Welfare Office] as early as possible…“ The working group called for changes to administrative regulations that allow authorities to intervene sooner. The [Youth Welfare Office] is not entitled to make home visits without notice. In addition, the group “recommends” to “share findings immediately”. In future, the youth welfare office will be accompanied by socio-educational specialists and a lawyer in such procedures.
1. Information gathering and exchange of information in child-endangerment procedures
The exchange of information between the family and youth welfare services responsible for the protection of the well-being of the child and the authorities involved in prosecuting and countering threats from certain perpetrators should be improved.
The police, the prosecutor, the district court (Strafvollstreckungskammer, Führungsaufsichtsstelle) and the probation service are asked to inform the youth welfare offices at an early stage if a sex offender whose actions have been directed against children or adolescents repeatedly has contact with a minor in his area who is a potential victim in the area Consideration comes.
The working group asks the ministers of justice and for Europe, for social affairs and integration as well as for home, digitization and migration in Baden-Württemberg, to change the administrative regulation COURSE (conception for dealing with relapse-prone sex offenders) so that in these cases an early involvement the youth welfare office becomes possible. The Working Group recommends that the Youth Welfare Office pass on its technical assessments, documents and findings without delay so that the court can process, evaluate and pass on the information to the other parties and subject it to further in-house investigations or a hearing of the parties or the child. The courts are recommended to exhaust all relevant sources of knowledge,
The hearing of children and the appointment of a procedural adviser are provided for by law in cases of the present kind as a rule of law. If the appointment of a procedural adviser and the hearing of the child in individual cases are waived, it is suggested that the reasons for this should be documented.
If a specific third party endangers the well-being of the child, their hearing and participation in the procedure should be considered. The hearing of other persons who can contribute to the assessment of a possible endangerment of the child by a specific perpetrator (eg police officers or probation officers) should be examined by the courts.
2. Control of requirements for the prevention of child endangerment
If the family court does not withdraw custody of the child despite a stated endangerment of the child’s welfare and restricts itself to milder measures, it must be checked whether the parents also obey the prohibitions and prohibitions for the protection of the child’s well-being. The working group suggests that the courts make a binding decision with the parents and the youth welfare office at the time of the hearing or in a timely manner in connection with the court decision, by whom, when and how the compliance with the measures is checked.
3. Participation and participation of the youth welfare office in family court proceedings
Proceedings according to § 8a SGB VIII and family court proceedings for child endangerment should be accompanied at the youth welfare office by teams consisting of socio-pedagogical specialists and in-house lawyers. As a result, the legal position of the Youth Welfare Office as a party to the proceedings in court is to be more fully filled out.