Victims of sexual abuse under the age of 18 currently have until the age of 28 to file a complaint. The Minister of Justice is working on an extension of this time limit, which has long been demanded by associations, in a context of increasing social awareness of these atrocities.
The general public remembers the horrors committed by a Dutroux or a Fourniret. But these rapists and serial killers conceal intimate dramas that sometimes will never be revealed. The terror of children abused by their father, their uncle, their cousin, a friend of the family – sometimes by a woman too -, in the secret of their bedroom or during vacations that will remain traumatic forever.
For once, Luxembourg is in the same boat as its neighbors, unable to assess the number of victims while the omerta reigns around these terrible secrets that are too well kept. In 2020, the public prosecutor's office opened 93 cases. But all professionals agree that the reality is much worse. The Council of Europe estimates that 20% of children are victims of sexual abuse. In France, the number of minor victims is estimated at 165,000.
In 2019, the Planning familial took care of 90 victims of sexual abuse, including 85 girls or women. "In 98.8% of cases, the abuse began before the age of 18", states its activity report, and 51.1% of victims had been abused before the age of 10.
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Too much silence around sexual abuse
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