Abuse at former orphanage

News | Vienna Review | November 2011

Two cases of repeated child abuse and rape were reported to have taken place in the 1970s at a former orphanage and school for girls in Schloss Wilhelminenberg at the periphery of Vienna.

While each of the victims received €35,000 in damages from the city, their defence lawyer, Johannes Öhlböck, is fighting for the "statute of limitations" (Verjährungsfrist), according to which prosecution expires 30 years after the crime was committed, to be lifted.

Meanwhile, over 340 further victims have reported being subjected to abuse at the orphanage from the 1940s onwards, suggesting systemic violence against the children at the institution.

The Minister of Justice, Beatrix Karl (People’s Party, ÖVP), while opposed to extending the statute of limitations retroactively, has called for harsher punishments for child abusers and the creation of a centralised help agency for victims.

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