In the Protestant Church of Berlin-Brandenburg-Schlesische Oberlausitz (EKBO), we attach great importance to protection against sexualised violence.
In the face of cases of sexualised violence and also in the Protestant Church, the Church’s mission obliges all those involved in the Church to adopt an attitude of mindfulness and to maintain personal boundaries.
As a project of the EJBO, the EJBO concept for protection against sexualised violence applies to the Ecumenical Youth Services (adopted on 20.03.2022). The EJBO is the youth organisation – The Protestant Youth Berlin-Brandenburg-Schlesische Oberlausitz on the territory of the Protestant Church in Berlin, Brandenburg and schlesische Oberlausitz (EKBO).
The Ecumenical Youth Services would like all those involved (participants, team members, freelancers, camp partners or cooperation partners) who get involved in the context of the EYS or take part in EYS activities to do so in a climate of freedom from fear and trust.
We want volunteers and professionals to accept the boundaries of others and contribute to raising awareness through their work.
We want volunteers and professionals to take a stand against sexualised violence.
Clarification of terms and definition of sexualised violence
A behaviour is sexualised violence “if the purpose or effect of an unwanted sexually determined behaviour is to violate the dignity of the person concerned. Sexualised violence can occur verbally, non-verbally, through solicitation or through assault” (§2 Church Law on Protection against Sexualised Violence, EKBO).
We distinguish between three dimensions of sexualised violence:
Criminally relevant forms of sexualised violence
- Boundary violations
Sexual boundary violations occur occasionally, are usually unintentional and can be characterized as professional or personal misconduct on the part of the person carrying them out. They can also be part of a strategy of the person committing the offense.
Examples: unintentional hugs, the thoughtless use of pet names (“sweetie”, “sweetheart”), obscene looks when passing by, suggestive jokes with discriminatory or sexist content or unwanted entry into rooms…
- Sexual assaults
Sexual assaults are not accidental and unintentional, but are sexually motivated and targeted. The person committing the assault deliberately disregards rules and professional standards when dealing with other people. They use their own superiority, often by virtue of their office or function, to override the victim’s resistance. In some cases, sexual assaults can be interpreted as a strategic approach in preparation for criminal forms of sexualised violence.
Examples: seemingly unintentional touching is repeated, deliberately sexist remarks are made, erotic products are shown to someone without being asked and unintentionally…
- Criminally relevant forms of sexualised violence
Criminally relevant forms of sexualised violence are listed in the German Criminal Code (StGB) as crimes against sexual self-determination. These include sexual abuse of charges, sexual assault, sexual coercion, promotion of sexual acts by minors, sexual abuse of minors, distribution of pornographic material, sexual harassment and others.
The forms described cannot always be clearly distinguished from one another. Each situation of sexualized violence must be considered as an individual case and carefully examined, assessed and classified by qualified contact persons.
The Code of Conduct
The Code of Conduct as a central element of the culture of prevention in the Protestant Church Berlin-Brandenburg-schlesische Oberlausitz for the protection (not only) against sexualised violence was adopted for the prevention work of the Ecumenical Youth Services and published as a German/English A3 EYS poster version. With the Code of Conduct, all voluntary and professional employees of EYS undertake to protect children, young people and adults through their behaviour.
- During the workcamp the camp management
- During the workcamp the EYS coordinator at the EYS office firstname.lastname@example.org / Mobil +49 151 210 630 26
- During the seminars, the designated contact person from the management team.
- EKBO contact persons for abuse, suspected abuse and sexualised violence:
Chris Lange (Independent external consultant)
Marion Eckerland (Regional church representative for dealing with sexualised violence)
Dr. Marie Anne Subklew-Jeutner (Chairwoman of the Recognition Commission for the individual processing of sexualised violence)
Ulrike Trautwein (General Superintendent Berlin and contact person for the clarification of sexualised violence and abuse)
Silke Hansen (Study Director Prevention of Sexualised Violence in the Office for Church Services (AKD) of the EKBO)
- For external professional advice centers: see the list of links at the bottom of the page.
How and by whom is action taken if sexualised violence has occurred or is suspected?
- Camp management and the person concerned: A “Communication action plan” with dos and don’ts helps with the first conversation.
- The EYS coordinator is informed immediately or as soon as possible. The next steps are discussed in pairs and it is clarified when and by whom the notifying person will receive initial feedback.
- If there is an interface with a church district, the EYS coordinator contacts the responsible interface person in order to closely coordinate further work. If there is no interface at church district level, the EYS coordinator contacts the responsible interface person at regional church level (e.g. AKD)
- A code of conduct and guidelines have been developed for voluntary and professional employees.
- All volunteer and professional employees are familiar with the Code of Conduct and sign it. The EYS has been working with the Code of Conduct since 2018.
- All German voluntary and professional employees must provide an extended certificate of good conduct.
- Non-German team leaders must sign a self-declaration.
- The topic of “Preventing sexualised violence” has been covered at the EYS team leader preparation seminars for some time (around 2011) in order to raise awareness, empower team leaders and highlight possible courses of action.(Formerly under the topic “Sexual assault, Sexual harassment/violence”). Since 2023, there has been a 3-part sensitisation course (look – help – act) on the topic of “sexualised violence” based on a further training initiative of the Protestant regional churches and Diakonie against sexualised violence Hinschauen – Helfen – Handeln. The terms stand for an attitude and culture of mindfulness that we learn to adopt as voluntary and professional employees of the EYS.
- At the beginning of a work camp, the teamers present the code of conduct to the participants and integrate it into the camp rules.
- Clear procedural rules help to ensure that reported incidents are handled securely and confidentially.
- There is a close exchange with the study management “Prevention of sexualized violence in the EKBO”
- The EYS ensures that its voluntary and professional employees receive regular training on this topic.
- The topic will be addressed and further developed in cooperation within the aej network with other international youth work organizations. (Literature tip on the area of “International youth work”: Schulungsmappe “Sex. Sex! Sex?” – 2. erweiterte Auflage
Helpful links on the topic
- Hilfetelefon: Multilingual nationwide help hotline and chat available around the clock
- bff: Federal Association of Women’s Counseling Centers and Women’s Emergency Calls in Germany
- UBSKM: Central information portal for the topic of child sexual abuse in the Federal Republic of Germany
- Tauwetter: Contact point for men who experienced sexualized violence in their childhood