The Guido Fluri Foundation is committed to helping disadvantaged and traumatised children. Thanks to a number of special projects it has initiated around this issue, the Foundation makes ongoing efforts to help prevent abuse and to raise awareness about the issue in public.
Just over two years passed between the launch of the reparations initiative and the adoption of the counter-proposal – a record in Swiss politics.
In the space of four years, more than 1,500 people visited the Mümliswil-Verdingkinder Memorial Children’s Home.
The KESCHA advisory service dealt with more than a thousand cases in its first year (2017).
Until well into the 20th century, children were auctioned off in Swiss village squares, forced into child labour, mistreated and abused. Many of these former so-called Verdingkinder are still alive today. They have experienced grave injustices. The immense suffering of these victims continues even today.
That is why the Guido Fluri Foundation successfully launched the reparations initiative in 2014. The Foundation demanded:
1. Financial reparations for Verdingkinder and victims of compulsory social measures in the care system
2. A scientific reappraisal of this dark chapter in Swiss history
3. A fund of 500 million Swiss francs to be reserved for compensating severely affected victims
4. Each case to be examined individually by an independent commission.
After the initiative was submitted, the Federal Council submitted a counter-proposal for consultation, which was approved by the National Council and the Council of States in 2016. The initiators then withdrew the initiative and brought their request to a successful conclusion. The “Federal Act on Compulsory Social Measures and Placements Prior to 1981” has been in force in Switzerland since January 2017.
The new Child and Adult Protection Act has been in force since 2013. Although the first nationwide statistics show that the number of protection measures for adults and children has tended to decrease since the introduction of the Child and Adult Protection Authority (CAPA), there is a degree of public distrust of the CAPA in some quarters. This lack of trust makes it more challenging for people to cooperate with the CAPA, which has a legal safeguarding mandate.
Against this backdrop, the Guido Fluri Foundation established the KESCHA advisory service in cooperation with six influential child and adult protection organisations. In the event of a conflict, the advisory service goes to the aid of those involved who are experiencing difficult life circumstances. The aim is to prevent escalations and to present a range of perspectives to those involved, so that communication with the authorities can be restored.
For the first time ever, the “Justice Initiative” facilitates comprehensive, pan-European tackling of child abuse, especially instances that have taken place in state and church institutions.
The initiative is supported by victims’ groups, academics and NGOs from all over Europe. In a joint declaration, public recognition of the injustice, reparations and scientific reappraisal take centre stage.
In coming to terms with the past, it is hoped that child protection in Europe will be strengthened for the future.
Video: The journalist António Assis Teixeira from CNN Portugal traveled to Switzerland to meet the man behind the Justice Initiative. The result is a very personal report about Guido Fluri's commitment.
The canton of Bern has more Verdingkinder and other victims of compulsory social measures than any other canton in Switzerland. Against this backdrop, the Guido Fluri Foundation and Pro Senectute Canton Bern launched the “Caregivers” pilot project in January 2022. Individuals who have been personally affected by such circumstances are given special training to empathetically support other victims in their everyday lives – either in person or via the Internet. The Caregivers are also designated contacts for retirement and nursing homes, where they provide training to the nursing and care staff. The pilot project is supported by the Federal Office of Justice.
Those for whom the initiative is relevant can call 031 924 11 56 or visit the website. There is also a chat service through which people can express their concerns or ask questions. This chat is also supported by a person who was affected by compulsory social measures and has worked for many years as a psychologist and trauma therapist.
In 2011, the Guido Fluri Foundation acquired the former Mümliswil children’s home, which is now a listed building. It was carefully renovated and opened to the public in May 2013 as a memorial for Verdingkinder and former residents of children’s homes. The house is a place of remembrance and hope. It serves to educate the public on this important issue and encourage communication between the generations.
Curator Markus Schürpf has skilfully combined the pictures and documents collected by Dr. Thomas Huonker’s in his extensive historical research, resulting in a compelling and poignant exhibition that sheds light on the experience of institutionalised children and the so-called Verdingkinder who were subjected to child indentured servitude. Excursions, camps and workshops offer unique opportunities for school classes, groups and private individuals to visit the exhibition free of charge, immersing themselves in the original, historic surroundings. This fosters deeper understanding as visitors actively engage with the subject matter. Through this ambitious project, the Guido Fluri Foundation is endeavouring to ensure that the plight and history of the Verdingkinder, institutionalised children, and children subjected to indentured servitude are remembered and honoured in perpetuity.
The platform clickandstop.ch is the online reporting centre against sexual violence against children and young people. It offers children, young people and parents who have been affected by abuse, as well as professionals and teachers, an easy way to report websites with criminal, paedophilic content. In just a few clicks, individuals can anonymously fill out the reporting form without the need to provide their email address, ensuring a user-friendly and easily accessible process. In addition, the hub offers comprehensive counselling services as well as specific prevention programmes. The new reporting hub closes an existing gap in Switzerland in the fight against paedophilia on the Internet.
Sexual violence against children and young people takes place everywhere and affects children of all ages. It is therefore of the utmost importance for children and young people to be bolstered against such crimes, and for protective and preventive measures to be provided. Through increased reporting, deletion and prosecutions, the vast amounts of paedophilic material currently online can be effectively curbed.