About us

Learn more about how the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse Issues works, what its tasks and objectives are, who the Inquiry’s members are, who the Inquiry works with and what issues it researches.


The inquiry is investigating all forms of child sexual abuse that occurred in the Federal Republic of Germany and the former GDR from 1949 onwards. This includes, for example, sexual violence in families, in institutions, in social environments, by external perpetrators or in the context of organised sexual exploitation. The term “Institutions” refers to all facilities in which children and adolescents might spend time in when growing up, e.g. school, sports club or church facilities. Anyone who experienced sexual violence abroad as a child but now lives in Germany can also come forward.


Those who were sexually abused in their childhood or youth should be given the opportunity to talk about the injustice they suffered or to report it in writing, even if it occurred years earlier. They would then know that their suffering has been recognised. Even if the offences are often statute-barred, the consequences of child sexual abuse can still be felt in the lives of the survivors many years later. This is why the opportunity to tell us about it is very important.

As survivors we have fought for an Inquiry in Germany for a long time. Survivors’ voices will make a difference.
Matthias Katsch, Inquiry member

How is the Inquiry organised?

Members of the Inquiry

The Inquiry consists of seven members. They are experts from different sectors. All of the members of the Inquiry

Hearing officers

The Inquiry is supported by 23 hearing officers throughout Germany who conduct the confidential hearings.

Gruppenfoto Aufarbeitungskommission. In der vorderen Reihe stehen drei Frauen, in der hinteren eine Frau und drei Männer.
Members of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse

The Inquiry’s office

The Inquiry is supported by its own office. The office staff advise and support the Inquiry in its work in the administration, justice, politics and science areas as well as with press releases and public relations.

The Independent Commissioner

The Inquiry was appointed by Kerstin Claus, the Independent Commissioner for Child Sexual Abuse Issues (UBSKM). Johannes-Wilhelm Rörig, her predecessor in this office, established the inquiry in 2016. This was based on a decision made by the German Bundestag as well as the long-standing demand by the survivors for an inquiry that would independently investigate child sexual abuse.

How does the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse Issues work?

The Inquiry’s work focuses on stories from survivors. The Inquiry’s members listen to them or read the reports that have been sent to them. This gives the survivors and other witnesses such as parents, other relatives, friends or teachers the opportunity to speak out beyond courtrooms, institutions or therapy rooms even if the injustice they experienced is already statute-barred.

The Inquiry uses various formats to investigate the different areas of child sexual abuse:

  • Confidential hearings for survivors and witnesses, nationwide and decentralised
  • Evaluating written reports from survivors and witnesses
  • Public hearings about key issues
  • Discussions held with experts and specialist events
  • Case studies and expertise
  • Research projects

Why does the Inquiry exist?

History & mandate

The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse Issues was appointed on the 26th of January 2016 by the then Independent Commissioner for Child Sexual Abuse Issues. This was based on a resolution passed by the German Bundestag on the 2nd of July 2015. The Inquiry was established to independently investigate child sexual abuse in Germany, which has been a key demand of survivors and other experts for years.

The Inquiry’s work was initially limited up to the 31st of March 2019. The Federal Cabinet extended it for the first time up to the end of 2023. The second extension was decided upon n November 2023. This ensures that the Inquiry will continue working for another two years until the end of 2025.

Find out more about the Commission’s mandate here.

Who reports to the Inquiry?

2,038 confidential hearings and written reports had been evaluated by July 2023. Most of them (92%) came from survivors. However, relatives (5%) and witnesses (3%) also reported child sexual abuse to the Inquiry.

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