Taizé-Rostock | Safeguarding

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Violating boundaries and sexualised violence - A definition and guideline for the European Meeting Taizé-Rostock

Trust and close relationships are vital aspects of our work. This makes it all the more important to deal appropriately and carefully with the issues of boundary violations and sexualised violence. There is no uniform definition of sexualised violence. It includes, among other things, sexual violations of boundaries, sexualised violence and forms of sexual abuse penalised by the law.

Boundary violations can include one-off or occasional inappropriate behaviour (e.g. disregard for personal or physical distance, unwanted hugs, derogatory comments).

The yardstick for the assessment of such actions is, in addition to objective criteria (such as compliance with the code of conduct), the subjective experience of those affected. Unintentional boundary violations can be corrected in everyday interaction. This needs an adequate understanding of the relationship between proximity and distance, and clear rules. In such circumstances, a climate exists in which behaviour that violates boundaries can be named openly and such acts can be avoided in the future.

Sexualised violence describes any behaviour that intentionally interferes with the sexual autonomy of another person without their consent or their ability to consent. Perpetrators deliberately disregard our guidelines and social norms, deliberately exploit non-transparent structures, confidential relationships (e.g. in the context of pastoral care or in children’s and youth work), dependency and power relationships. They ignore the resistance of those affected to satisfy their own needs.

In addition to sexualised violence, there are many other forms of violence such as physical and psychological violence and spiritual abuse through manipulation, among others. All information and every report received will be followed up.

In each of the steps where intervention is necessary, the person affected by violence is given the priority, also with regard to their personal rights.

Text elaborated together with the Fachstelle Prävention der Evangelischen Kirche (Prevention Office of the Protestant Church)