The portrayal of abuse and violence against children is increasing rapidly. The authorities are assuming a high “dark field”. The abuse complex Wermelskirchen has a new dimension of brutality.

In 2021, the police in Germany recorded significantly more depictions of child abuse than in the previous year. More than 39,000 cases became known to the authorities last year, according to a special evaluation of police crime statistics that was presented in Berlin on Monday.

This corresponds to an increase of 108.8 percent in the cases of dissemination, acquisition, possession and production of images of sexual violence against children and young people.

The known cases of child sexual abuse rose by 6.3 percent to over 15,500 last year. The annual figures only cover the fraction of cases that the police learn about. The numbers do not reflect the so-called dark field.

Every investigation success is important

The Independent Commissioner for Child Sexual Abuse, Kerstin Claus, complained that Europe had become the hub for the dissemination of images of abuse. “We need increased European cooperation and significantly more investment in the human and technological equipment of the investigative authorities. Every investigation success is important because it offers the chance to stop acute child abuse and prevent further acts. »

According to the President of the Federal Criminal Police Office, Holger Münch, the authorities are receiving more evidence of child sexual abuse. “We very much welcome this: the most serious acts of violence against children and young people, as the weakest members of society, must be proscribed, prosecuted and ended.”

New level of brutality

According to the investigators, the new abuse complex in Wermelskirchen has a dimension of brutality that even exceeds that of Lügde. The main suspect is a 44-year-old from Wermelskirchen in the Bergisches Land.

The police and public prosecutor’s office in Cologne announced on Monday that he had offered his services as a babysitter on the Internet and was thus able to approach his victims. He exchanged pictures and videos of “unimaginable brutality” with dozens of other men.

Huge amounts of data with 3.5 million pictures and 1.5 million videos were secured. So far, 74 suspects and 33 victims have been identified. The youngest child was one month old. Among the victims are five infants and children with disabilities.