• Austria's news in English
 
app_header_v3
Vienna paid out €52.5m in children's home scandal
One of the former homes. Photo: Wolfgang Glock/Wikimedia

Vienna paid out €52.5m in children's home scandal

The Local · 11 Feb 2016, 11:21

Published: 11 Feb 2016 11:21 GMT+01:00

2,048 victims have been awarded compensation since 2010, after a probe into the abuse at the homes managed by the city of Vienna.

The report concluded that municipal employees in the department overseeing the city's homes for children were aware of the widespread abuse but failed to react. Municipal politicians who learned of them in the 1960s also shut their eyes to the problem.

One of the homes where some of the worst abuses occurred was at Schloss Wilhelminenberg, now a hotel in the leafy outskirts of Vienna's 16th district.

Since the first allegations surfaced in 2010, hundreds of former Schloss Wilhelminenberg residents turned to the Weisser Ring, a victims' organization supported by the city of Vienna.

Beyond psychological help, some of the victims have received financial payouts as high as €35,000. The average payout was €17,000, and the psychotherapy services provided to victims amounted to €8.9 million.  

Vienna councillor Sonja Wehsely said that the city has paid out a total of €52.5 million, and that any victims who have not yet been compensated have until March 31st to contact the Weisser Ring.

Victims will still have access to legal help and therapy after the project has ended.

Former residents of the homes were raped and sexually abused by their caregivers as well as outsiders. Some were drugged or forced to drink alcohol, and the report also detailed frequent beatings and other forms of physical abuse that went on for decades until the homes were closed.

Story continues below…

Most of the children came from problem families, prompting disparaging comments about their backgrounds from their caregivers, that resulted in psychological damage.

"For the victims, the money is not a priority", Udo Jesionek, President of the Weisser Ring said. "They want to be heard and taken seriously."

This year, 67 new victims have been in touch with the Weisser Ring. Vienna’s city government has said it intends to hold a memorial ceremony for all those who were abused.

For more news from Austria, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Today's headlines
Kurz: EU migration policy a “dramatic failure”
Sebastian Kurz. File photo: BMEIA

Austria’s Foreign Minister, Sebastian Kurz, has warned that the refugee crisis could break the European Union apart.

No work for Vienna’s fiaker horses during heatwaves
Photo: Paul Gillingwater

The Austrian parliament is set to pass a new law making it illegal for fiaker carriage horses to work in temperatures of 35C and above.

Firefighters rescue cat from car engine
Photo: FF Amstetten

Firemen were called out to help this trapped cat after a squeaking noise from the engine compartment was discovered to be a moggy in distress.

Two teens sexually assaulted at music festival
A picture from the festival in 2014. Photo: Luca Sartoni/Flickr

Two 15-year-old girls were reportedly sexually assaulted during Donauinselfest, an open-air, free music festival in Vienna.

Bank manager tied up and robbed in home invasion
The affluent Döbling district of Vienna. Photo: Gryffindor/wikimedia commons

It is the third burglary of this kind in Vienna this year...

Despite high unemployment restaurants can't find staff
File photo: David Mulder/Flickr

"Closed today - no staff but over 500,000 unemployed people. Sorry!" one frustrated restaurant owner wrote on a sign outside his business.

Austrian prisoners to receive condoms and lubricant
Photo: robertelyov/Flickr

'Safe sex packages' including an informative leaflet will be distributed to first-time prisoners.

US rapper appeals extradition from France
Photo: SwaGibbs/Wikimedia

Michael Malka, the lawyer for US rapper Freddie Gibbs, announced that his client will be appealing his extradition to Austria on charges of rape.

Manfred Deix, the man who captured Austria’s soul
Photo: A sample of the work of the late cartoonist

Famous Austrian Cartoonist Manfred Deix died in the hospital on Saturday after a long battle with severe illness.

Man dies while skinny-dipping with mistress
Photo: Stanislav Doronenko/Wikimedia

An Austrian man drowned during a skinny-dipping session with his mistress on Saturday, after jumping naked with her into a nearby lake.

Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
National
It's gonna be hot... here's how to cope
Sponsored Article
Education abroad: How to find an international school
National
Europe's ice cream capital
Travel
Best Austrian beauty spots
Travel & Tourism
Three days in Vienna as a tourist
National
How to make friends in Austria
National
Don't hesitate - break the window
Sport
Ready to watch some football? Here's how!
National
Cake rules
Sponsored Article
Avoid hidden fees when sending money overseas
Politics
Austria's choice for a new president
Politics
Profile on Norbert Hofer, Freedom Party Presidential Candidate
Politics
Austrian politics explained. TL;DR: worry not.
Features
Refugees need practical help
Lifestyle
All you need to know about Austrian Faschingskrapfen
Lifestyle
Why looking good on the ski slopes has never been easier
Lifestyle
Live in Austria? You might develop some of these weird habits
National
How 'Silent Night' rules the carol world
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
Lifestyle
How a chance meeting on the slopes led to a new business
Lifestyle
What it means to be human
Technology
How a town became a green icon
Lifestyle
Why Austria has the world's best ski resort
Lifestyle
Let them eat cake!
2,468
jobs available