The Criminal complaint

Translation based on the German version "Informationen zur Strafanzeige"


Criminal complaint of sexual abuse of children

In Germany there is no legal duty on an individual to report sexual abuse. 

Anyone who knows that a child is being sexually abused can file a criminal complaint, for example a neighbor, a friend, a teacher. But you can not  withdraw the complaint at a later time.

Applicable paragraphs according of the German criminal code

  • Section 174: Sexual abuse of persons in one’s charge
  • Section 176: Sexual abuse of children

Where to file criminal complaint 

You can file a criminal complaint with...

  • the police: all agencies and officers in the police service are obliged to accept criminal complaints. Or you submit a complaint over the online police presenceIn a case of an immediate emergency, please always report to the police by calling 110. 
  • the public prosecutor's office
  • the lawyer


 More information

  • Create a memory protocol (Gedächtnisprotokoll)
  • Women have the right to  being heared by a female police officer.
  • In Germany, Legal aid ("Prozesskostenhilfe") has been established so that people with low income can also demand/defend their rights.
  • You are free to choose your lawyer.
  • If you have little or no income and would like to seek advice from a lawyer first, you can apply for and receive a so-called "financial aid certificate for counselling" ("Beratungshilfeschein") from the local court responsible for the issue in question.