Important information about our privacy policy (private hearing)

Important notice!

The following text serves as a guideline, no guarantee of legal certainty of the translation

Our privacy policy is very important to us, the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse Issues (referred to as “we” or “Inquiry hereinafter”). Please read these instructions carefully, even though they are very lengthy. The Inquiry’s office will be happy to answer any questions you have. If possible, you should bring the signed declaration of consent with you to your hearing. In any case, another copy will be made available to you before the hearing.

1. Who is responsible for processing your details and who can you contact?

The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse Issues works independently with regard to content and expertise. Organisationally we report to the Independent Commissioner for Child Sexual Abuse Issues (UBSKM), who in turn is organisationally assigned to the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth.

The person responsible within the meaning of Article 4, No. 7 of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is:

The Independent Commissioner for Child Sexual Abuse Issues
at the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth,
Glinkastraße 24,
10117 Berlin

You can contact our official data protection officer at:

Data protection officer,
Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth,
Glinkastraße 24,
10117 Berlin

Telefon: +49(0)30 18 555 0

2. What is the purpose of us processing your details?

The Inquiry was commissioned by the Independent Commissioner for Child Sexual Abuse Issues to investigate all forms of child sexual abuse in the Federal Republic of Germany and the former GDR. This includes the following questions:

  1. Which omissions or structural defects enabled abuse to occur in the past and also prevented sexual abuse from being reappraised?
  2. What is the extent of sexual violence against children and adolescents in Germany? Under what circumstances does sexual violence occur and what are its causes and consequences?
  3. What do our politicians and society need to change so that children and adolescents are better protected against abuse in future?

Your hearing will help answer these questions.

Legal basis for the processing

Processing the personal details collected during the hearing will be based on you giving consent in accordance with Art. 6, Para. 1a or Art. 9, Para. 2a of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
You are free to decide whether you consent to it or not. This applies especially to particularly sensitive information, e.g. about your health, your sex life or your ethnic origin. You are not obliged to provide such information and you can only report what you want to report to us. You can cancel the hearing at any time, even after it has started and without giving any reasons. You can also withdraw your consent at any time. Us processing your details up to your withdrawal remains lawful; however, after you have withdrawn your consent, all of the documents containing your personal details will be destroyed or deleted if they are stored in a digital form.

If you have provided information about other peoples who are identifiable through your information, processing will be carried out exclusively for the purpose of fully depicting the facts you have described so that we are able to fully fulfil the historical and scientific research mandate (Art. 9, Para. 2j in conjunction with Section 27, Para. 1 of the Federal Data Protection Act.

3. How will your details be processed?

We want to record your experiences as you reported them to us. The Inquiry would also like to make an audio recording of your details. The inquiry members or hearing officers talking to you will prepare a summary of the hearing situation and the details you gave them. Some of the hearings will be fully noted afterwards based on the audio recordings. The Inquiry’s office also maintains a database. Certain details about your story will be entered in this database. This will be done without mentioning your name or other characteristics such as locations, other people or institutions whose mention might identify you (pseudonymised recording). For example, it will record the period in which the sexual violence occurred, what personal relationship you had with the perpetrator and whether you filed a criminal complaint. These details will only be documented if you consent to it.

The information obtained by the Inquiry will also be evaluated with the help of scientific projects by Inquiry staff members and other scientists. The Inquiry regularly reports its findings to the public and makes action recommendations to politicians and society. The sole purpose of processing your details is to enable us to evaluate and report it.

You are also welcome to contact us for information through our free-of-charge “service hotline” (Tel.: 0800 40 300 40, office hours: Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays: 9 am – 2 pm; Tuesdays and Thursdays: 3 pm – 8 pm.

Audio recordings using your own recording device are not possible for data protection reasons and to protect third parties. Names, locations and other references that might enable conclusions to be drawn about you, your family or the perpetrator will be made unrecognisable in the summary or transcription of the audio recording. This is not possible with sound recordings, which is why we treat them in accordance with special data protection measures and subject them to deletion periods.

4. Who will be given your details?

If your hearing is to be conducted by a hearing officer or officers, we will pass on your contact details and the initial information you have given us about what you want to report to the hearing officer(s). You will be informed about who the specific hearing officer(s) is/are before your details are passed on. You have one week to notify us that you do not want the hearing to be conducted by this/these hearing officer(s). If necessary, the hearing officer(s) will provide your contact details to a specialist counselling centre that should be consulted for a preparatory and/or follow-up discussion with you.

Hearings are held at the Inquiry’s office. The hearing teams create summaries for all of the hearings; some of the hearings are written down (transcribed). Names, locations, people or institutions that could be used to identify you personally are deleted from the summaries and transcripts (pseudonymised). The pseudonymised details are also recorded in our database.

The Inquiry’s office is supported during these various document management steps by the “textpool-berlin” and “MedSOK Krüger e.K.” support offices, the Federal Office for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth and the N.I.N.A. e. V. (National hotline, network and contact point for sexual violence against girls and boys) specialist advice centre. NINA e.V. also bears technical responsibility for the service hotline.

Everyone involved in the process has been carefully selected and they are committed to ensuring that appropriate technical and organisational measures are always in place to provide the required level of data protection. The Inquiry’s office ensures compliance with this obligation through close cooperation and continuous checks.

So that your details can be evaluated as described under section 3., we pass it on to the institutes and scientists named there and on our website at: Only pseudonymised (see above) summaries and transcripts that have no personal references for the recipients are passed on. We will also replace the pseudonym that was used during the hearing with another pseudonym. Audio recordings and other documents that could be used to identify you always remain in the Inquiry’s office.

Your details will only be processed within the EU’s member states or another country that is a signatory to the European Economic Area Agreement.

Your name or other details that might make you identifiable will not be mentioned in any the Inquiry’s publications or the above-mentioned scientific projects. Your details might be reproduced verbatim in one of the Inquiry’s reports or a publication. Here, too, we will ensure that the quote will not allow any conclusions to be made about you as a person (pseudonymised). If it is a long quote (i.e. more than two sentences), we will only quote you if you specifically consent to this.

5. How long will your details be kept or stored?

We would also like to stay in contact with you after your hearing, e.g. to inform you about our publications or to ask you whether we may reproduce your details verbatim in a report. This means that the Inquiry will store your details for the entire duration of its term, i.e. for as long as the Inquiry is active. The Inquiry will transfer your details to the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth / the Independent Commissioner for Child Sexual Abuse Issues after it has completed its work. They will stipulate a retention period. We will still be able to answer any subsequent questions about the documents within this period. The Independent Commissioner for Child Sexual Abuse Issues staff will treat your personal details with the same high standards as the Inquiry did. All of the documents containing personal details (especially application forms, audio recordings and e-mails) will be destroyed or deleted after the deadline expires. Summaries and transcripts of your hearing, from which your name or other circumstances could be used to identify you have been deleted, will be handed over to the Federal Archives. They will then examine the handover. At this point, the Inquiry’s office will also no longer be able to say which story belongs to which person (completely anonymised).

Handing them over to the Federal Archives means that your story and the work of the Inquiry will be preserved as eyewitness documents for future generations. This will contribute to creating a shared reminder about the sexual violence experienced in our society. The documents will then be subject to the provisions of the Federal Archives Act.

6. What rights do you have?

Those involved have the following rights towards the data controller with regard to the processing of their personal data:

  • Right of access (Art. 15, GDPR)
  • Right to rectification (Art. 16, GDPR)
  • Right to rectification and erasure (Art. 17, GDPR)
  • Right to restriction of processing (Art. 18, GDPR)
  • Right to data portability (Article 20, GDPR)
  • Those involved also have the right to lodge a complaint with a data protection supervisory authority. The responsible supervisory authority at the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth is the Federal Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information.

7. Are there any exceptions to the confidential handling of details?

Both the members of the Inquiry and the Inquiry’s office staff will treat your details and information confidentially. They do not intend any further handling or use of your information. However, the Inquiry is committed to child protection. Should one of the hearings reveal specific evidence of an ongoing serious risk to a child’s welfare, then appropriate measures will be discussed to end this risk. This applies in particular to cases where a risk of ongoing sexual abuse of a child is suspected. In certain cases suitable measures might also include informing the youth welfare office or even the police in exceptional cases. However, as a rule this would only occur after a discussion with the person from whom the Inquiry received the information about the risk to a child’s welfare. This person would also be informed about the involvement of the authorities.

In certain cases it cannot be ruled out that the people who listened to you will be questioned in court about the content of the hearing. The people who listened to you might then have a legal obligation to testify in court. This applies in particular, if you were heard by members of the Inquiry. Furthermore, the Inquiry’s office might also be obliged to hand over written documents or audio files to other authorities (namely public prosecutors’ offices and courts) in specific cases.

Issued: 21.12.2022

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