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But the school board defended its decision, arguing that he had been the “best” candidate for the job.
Judges will also have the power to forbid abusers from contacting victims and to declare certain public places off-limits to convicted paedophiles.The unreported incidence of child abuse is estimated to be much higher.It is estimated that up to one in four women and one in ten men in Switzerland have experienced sexual abuse in their childhood. Some children experience this form of violence just once, others suffer repeated abuse, sometimes over years.(Source: Swiss Child Protection Association)Debate Natalie Rickli, Swiss People’s Party parliamentarian and member of the initiative’s committee defended the initiative tooth and nail in parliament.“It is actually sad that voters have to take it upon themselves to launch such initiatives because politicians fail to take action.The government announced on April 9 that these measures will come into force from January 2015.“The initiative creates the impression that the introduction of an automatic [work-ban] sanction will lead to complete protection from sex offenders.But that is only a superficial security: first offenders will not be affected and it is a tragic reality that only 5% of crimes result in a conviction,” the statement read.The cabinet, satisfied with this legal solution, has recommended voters reject the initiative on the grounds that it is imprecise, incomplete and contravenes the principles of Swiss and international law.
But the initiative campaigners do not want to leave work bans at the discretion of judges, pointing to the legal system’s poor track record of protecting children, the 2004 case in Biel being just one blatant example.
Probably the most emotive issue to come before the electorate in a vote on May 18 is an initiative to ban convicted paedophiles from working with children for life, the culmination of a ten year campaign sparked by a controversy in the town of Biel.
The initiative has mainly been backed by the rightwing Swiss People’s Party and the centrist Christian Democrats.
Five key national child and youth organisations have come out against the paedophile work-ban initiative, on the grounds that it is inadequate and unconstitutional.
In a joint statement issued on April 8, the Swiss Association of Youth Groups (SAJV), Jungwacht Blauring (Catholic scouting and girl guides organisation), Pfadibewegung Schweiz (non-denominational scouting a girl guides organisation), SATUS Schweiz (umbrella organisation for Swiss gymnastics and sports clubs) and the Swiss Foundation for Child Protection, expressed their support for the alternative child protection measures accepted by parliament in December 2013, pointing out that the work ban provided for in the new legislation extends to voluntary activities.
The organisations call for urgent investment in prevention work and protection measures as the most effective way to avoid sexual and violent assaults on children.