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Department of Psychology I - Intervention Psychology

Abused Power - Sexualised and Psychological Violence in Institutions

Lecture series of the Faculty of Human Sciences, the Faculty of Catholic Theology and the Academy of the Diocese in the winter semester 2023/2024

More than any other institution, the Catholic Church in Germany is currently under criticism for the crimes of sexual abuse and its cover-up. Various studies have analyzed the systemic conditions at work in this process. Increasing attention is also being paid to forms of spiritual abuse and emotional or psychological violence in pastoral relationships, but also in church communities or working relationships.

However, sexualized and psychological violence are not only a problem of the church as an institution, but are present in many institutions where dependencies are systemic - including universities. How can abuse of power and violence in their various dimensions be recognized and minimized? What possibilities are there for countering them?

The lecture series makes these phenomena the topic and illuminates them from various specialist perspectives.


25.10.2023 Prof. Dr. Jörg Fegert (Ulm)
Knowledge of the dimension of the problem and the risk factors for abuse in institutions as a prerequisite for protection and prevention against sexualised violence of children and adolescents                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Presentation for download
08.11.2023 Prof. Dr. Harald Dreßing (Mannheim) 
Sexual abuse in the area of responsibility of the Catholic Church - the MHG study and its consequences (The speaker will give the lecture online, but the lecture will take place in presence) Presentation for download
15.11.2023 Prof. Dr. Hildegard Wustmans (Limburg)
Institutional power, its spiritual irresponsibility and the temptation to abuse it Lecture for Download / Presentation for download
22.11.2023 Prof. Dr. Dominik Burkard (Würzburg)
Historical perspective on abuse in the church context Presentation for download
29.11.2023 Prof. Dr. Judith Könemann (Münster)
Spiritual Abuse. Power and mightiness in (hierarchical) systems Presentation for download
06.12.2023 Prof. Dr. Peter Imbusch (Wuppertal)
Power and violence - on the limiting and delimiting function of institutions Presentation for download
13.12.2023 Prof. Dr. Sabine Andresen (Frankfurt) > THE LECTURE WILL ONLY BE ONLINE!
Power between the generations. A childhood theory perspective on sexual and psychological violence
20.12.2023 Prof. Dr. Hildegund Keul (Würzburg - Vulnerabilitätsforschung) & Kai Christian Moritz (DBK-Betroffenenbeirat)
Vulnerability, vulnerability and the affected person perspective
10.01.2024 Prof. Dr. Frank Schuster (Würzburg)
Abuse and violence in institutions - the criminal law perspective Presentation for download
17.01.2024 Prof. Dr. Marcel Romanos (Würzburg)
Prevention and Therapy for Experiences of Violence in Childhood and Adolescence
24.01.2024 Prof. Dr. Jutta Stahl (Köln)
Abuse of power at universities: structural causes and levels of potential action Presentation for download
07.02.2024 Katja Beck-Doßler, Prof. Dr. Barbara Schmitz, Präsident Prof. Dr. Paul Pauli, Prof. Dr. Marcel Romanos, Prof. Dr. Anja Amend-Traut (Würzburg)
Panel Discussion: Facing Powerlessness - How to Deal with Power and Abuse of Power at the University of Würzburg




Time and Location

The lecture series takes place every Wednesday at 6 p.m. in lecture hall 318 in the New University at Sanderring 2.

Registration is not necessary. Admission is free.

It is possible to attend the lecture series online via webex:

The individual lectures will be broadcast live here.

You can install an app from webex or go directly through your browser. The list of participants will not be visible. The chat function among each other and to everyone is disabled.  You can write your questions and comments directly to the host. These will then be brought to the speakers and to the plenary.

If you want to remain anonymous, you do not need to enter your real name or your real e-mail address. Neither will be stored.

If you have technical problems dialing in, you are welcome to call 0931/38643111.


Credit for the study programme

The following modules can be credited for Catholic Theology:

  • 130758  01-M25d-211-m01 Geisteswissenschaften im interdisziplinären Gespräch
  • 121226  01-LA-FB-ThID-152-m01 Theologie im interdisziplinären Dialog
  • 129553  01-BA-ThSt-SQ-ThID-152-m01 Theologie im interdisziplinären Dialog

The following modules can be credited for Intervention Psychology:

  • 114816  06-PSY-GueS-102-m01 Gesundheitspsychologie und emotionale Störungen
  • 117018  06-PSY-GueS-092-m01 Gesundheitspsychologie und emotionale Störungen
  • 121700  06-PSY-GueS-152-m01 Gesundheitspsychologie und emotionale Störungen
  • 110379  06-PSY-KIPSY-3-202-m01 Klinische Psychologie und Interventionspsychologie: Prävention und Rehabilitation über die Lebensspanne

A preliminary meeting for the lecture series will take place on Wednesday, 18.10.2023. The credit requirements will be discussed there. The meeting is at 6:00 pm in lecture room 318 in the New University at Sanderring 2.


Organisation and Contact

Prof. Dr. Andrea Kübler - Chair of Psychology I - Intervention Psychology

Prof. Dr. Matthias Reményi - Chair of Fundamental Theology and Comparative Religious Studies


Cooperation Partner

Domschule Würzburg - Akademie des Bistums