Federal government: Buschmann: Reform the law against depictions of abuse

The law was changed two years ago. Now Federal Minister of Justice Marco Buschmann wants to revise it again. Why?

Federal Minister of Justice Marco Buschmann wants to present a proposal for a reform of the law on depictions of the sexual abuse of children, which was only amended around two years ago, before the end of this year. The FDP politician emphasized that the main goal of the change in the law to combat the distribution, acquisition and possession of so-called child pornography, the significant increase in penalties, was not questioned.

“There are no two opinions when people get depictions of sexual abuse of children for pleasure or for profit: That must be severely punished,” said Buschmann of the German Press Agency in Berlin. However, the tightening of penalties in 2021 was only well intentioned in some respects, but not well done. Apparently not all possible scenarios were considered at the time. “If, for example, a parent discovers such a photo in a child’s Whatsapp group and sends it to the parents of the original sender to ask what’s going on, that would currently fall under the distribution of such content,” said the Minister of Justice. That cannot be the purpose of the rule.

scope for justice

Buschmann said his ministry is now in the process of drawing up a concept for how a legislative reform could be set up in such a way that the judiciary would again have the necessary leeway to do justice to different individual cases. “My goal is to complete this concept before the end of this year.”

At the end of March, the Association of German Criminal Investigators accused the Federal Minister of Justice of not making the necessary changes quickly enough. The fact that investigators now have to deal with many more cases of child abuse is not only due to several large-scale proceedings and the information from the US National Center of Missing and Exploited Children. It also plays a role that the number of juvenile suspects who share the relevant content in chat groups without being aware of the consequences of their actions is increasing. This ties up the already scarce resources of law enforcement agencies. Due to the tightening of the penalties, they no longer have the option of discontinuing the proceedings and can therefore “no longer fulfill the actual task of convicting pedo-criminals to the required extent”.

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