I am 15 years old. I was pregnant and I terminated the pregnancy. The others at school say that I am a murderer, that I killed my child.

You didn’t want a child yet.
You decided to have an abortion.
That is your right.
An abortion is not murder.
In Germany there are rules about when you can get an abortion.
When is it permitted?
When is it not permitted?

Others may not understand you.
They may want to know why you did it.

You can say to them:
I don’t like what you’re saying.
What you’re saying is hurtful.

You can also explain why you did it.
Then they might understand you.

But you do not have to explain.

I am a 16-year-old girl and I am friends with our carer. I sometimes go swimming alone with her. The other carers think that this is not good and they want to ban it. Why is that?

Your carer has a job.
In that job she looks after girls and boys in a group.
She is supposed to look after all the young people.

A friendship with you may mean that:
She knows you particularly well.
Or she likes you more than the others.
That may cause unrest within the group.
Someone might think
that the carer is being unfair to the other young people.

A friendship should also be equal.
But your carer can make decisions for you.
That means that you are not equal.
In Germany that kind of friendship is “unprofessional”.

That means
that your carer should keep her job and her private life separate.

I am 13 and I would like to send my steady boyfriend a sexy picture of myself. I’m almost naked in it. But someone at school said that was “child pornography”. Will I get punished?

No, you will not receive any legal punishment.
As a child you are not at the age of “criminal responsibility” until you are 14.
At 13 years old you cannot be punished by law.
Only your parents or guardians can forbid you from doing something.

However, there are a few things you should consider.
For example, your boyfriend can be punished
if he is 14 or over, as he is no longer a child.

Sometimes pictures are illegal because you are only 13.

This is the case if:

  • The photo shows someone under 14 having sex.
  • The photo shows primarily the breasts or the area between the legs.

Irrespective of age, it is illegal if:

  • Someone is talked or forced into taking the picture.
  • This kind of picture is sent to someone who does not want it.

It is also illegal
to send this kind of picture to anyone else without permission.

But that sometimes happens.

If you need help on this issue, you can get in touch with someone here:

http://www.nina-info.de/save-me-online/kontakt-beratung.html

People talk a lot about sex here. I am a 15-year-old boy and I think it is nobody else’s business. Why does everyone talk about it?

Sex is something very personal.
Many people don’t want to talk about it.
But lots of young people have questions.
They are uncertain and don’t know everything.
It is important for you to understand
that you may ask questions.
But you do not have to talk about sex with anyone.

Sometimes talking is good.
There are many reasons to talk about sex:
Young people are experiencing a lot of new things.
They might like to share with other young people.
It can be very exciting!

Many adults can answer questions from young people.
They can give information.
They want to help.
Young people should feel that:
They can talk about good and bad experiences with adults.
They can ask any questions about their bodies and about sex.
They can get help when they need it.

I am a 14-year-old girl and I’ve heard that other girls in school have had a HPV vaccination. What is that? Do I need it too?

HPV is an abbreviation for “Human Papilloma Virus”.
Viruses can cause diseases.
Diseases caused by HPV include:
“Cervical cancer” and “genital warts”.
Cervical cancer is a serious disease in the body.
The cervix is the part of a woman’s body that joins to the top of the vagina.
Genital warts look like small brown or white nodules.
Sometimes the warts itch or burn.

HPV can be transmitted through sex with other people.
Many women and men have HPV during their lifetime.
But not everyone develops a disease from the virus.
A “vaccination” can prevent you from becoming ill.
A “vaccination” is an injection to prevent disease.
This injection helps your body to fight the virus.
You can ask your gynaecologist about this.
She can help you to make a decision.
She can vaccinate you.
It is best to get vaccinated before you first have sex.
Vaccination against HPV is free.

I am a 13-year-old girl and my family wants me to be “cut”. I’m frightened. My family won’t listen to me. Who can I talk to?

You are not alone in this.
Lots of girls are frightened of “cutting” (also known as “female circumcision” or “female genital mutilation”).
Lots of girls do not want to be cut.
Many families do not know that cutting can harm a girl’s health.
Cutting is illegal in Germany.

Some girls find it difficult to talk about cutting.
They are ashamed or they don’t know what to say.
Some can’t find the right words.
Feelings are always okay.

There are advice centres which can help you with this issue.
Places where girls can talk to female adults.
They can talk about fear, shame and any other feelings.
The women there do not judge the girls who come to them.
They want to help the girls.
You can tell the women what you need.

In Munich, for example, the advice centre is called the Wüstenrose (PDF, 3.3 MB).

I am a 15-year-old boy and my girlfriend has broken up with me. But we were really in love. I can’t accept our break-up. It hurts so much. So I often follow her after school and try to win her back. Yesterday she told me I’m not allowed to do that. Is that right?

Yes, that’s right. You are not allowed to follow anyone against their will.
Breaking up with a girlfriend or boyfriend always hurts.
And the pain is greater, if you are still in love.

But love is about two people.
It’s difficult to let your girlfriend go.
But you can’t keep her if she doesn’t want it.
A loving relationship is great when it is voluntary.
That means when you both want it.

You wouldn’t like it if you were forced into love.
It is also against the law to stalk someone.
That means following someone against their will.

Try to take your mind off it and think about something else.
There are many ways to help mend a broken heart:
Talk to someone about it.
Perhaps even cry.
Practice sport or something else you like doing.

I (16) live in a residential unit. I have a very strict curfew. If I am late I am grounded. Is that right?

Your carer in the residential unit has to look after you.
That means that you are not allowed to stay out too late.
It is right to say to you:
You must be home on time in the evenings.
However, you have the right to have fun with your friends.

Sometimes you may lose track of time.
You come home much later than agreed.
Then it is right if your residential unit is stricter with you.

However, sometimes it is not your fault that you are late.
Because the bus is late.
Because an appointment lasted longer than planned.
In that case it is not fair that you are punished.
Your carers must take this into consideration.

Being grounded may not be fair.
If you think you are being treated unfairly then you can seek help.
For example, you could talk to your guardian about the matter.

I (16 years old) live without my parents in a youth welfare organisation. I would often like to meet my friends. However, I have lots of appointments. Is it the same for all children and young people in Germany?

All children and young people in Germany have the right to leisure time and fun.
You have this right just like all other children and young people.
Your carers must take this right into consideration.

However, they also need to care for you well.
That is why you sometimes have appointments.
You may need to visit the official authority for questions about your place of residence.
To ensure you can stay here.
Or if you need to talk to your guardian.
So that they know what they can do for you.
Or if you need a specific document.
So you can prove who you are, for example.

You must keep some appointments because you are here without your parents.
Your carer cannot take care of these appointments for you.
Do you think that these appointments are too much for you?
Then please discuss this with your carer.
Or ask your guardian.

I am from Syria and I have been living in a residential unit for half a year (15, girl). I am very homesick and often sad. Who can help me? I don’t want to burden anybody.

You are alone in Germany.
You have had a long path behind you.
Much of it was certainly very unpleasant and unsettling.
You have experienced a massive burden.

You are not an adult yet.
You have the right to help and support.
And: you have the right to be heard.
This means: it is important that people listen to you.
It is important that your voice is heard.
This is one of the UN Children’s Rights.
It means: the people who are taking care of you now listen to you.
They are interested in your wishes.
They help you to feel happy and safe.

If they do not do this then something is wrong.
Then you need to seek help.
Please talk to an adult who you trust.