One video shows a girl on a platform, curled up on the ground. Two other girls strike. The sound of punches and kicks against the body can be heard.
After the attack on the 14-year-old in the Baden-Württemberg city of Rastatt, the police are investigating the alleged perpetrators for dangerous bodily harm. The three teenagers are known to the police, as it later turns out. There are now investigations because no one helped the girl.
The two 13-year-olds attacked the girl on Sunday. However, the case only became known a day later when the disturbing images appeared on the Internet. Contrary to initial information, the girl was not taken to the hospital after the crime, police said. Instead, the teenager went to a clinic on Monday and was released after outpatient treatment with minor injuries.
According to the police, a few hours before the crime, the 14-year-old had already had a physical altercation with the two alleged attackers at the train station in Bietigheim near Ludwigsburg. The day before, she had gotten into an argument with another girl in Gaggenau, who had also been identified. In addition, the police in Offenburg suspect a connection with similar incidents in Karlsruhe in the past.
Kicks to the head and body
The video recording from Rastatt shows the 14-year-old being pushed to the ground and the two girls beating her and kicking her head and body several times. The police are also investigating those who filmed the crime and did not help. Criminal proceedings for failure to provide assistance and possible violations of the personal rights of the people depicted have been initiated. Several witnesses, mostly children and young people, have already been identified.
How can it be explained that none of the witnesses helped? Social psychology attributes such behavior to what is known as the bystander effect. Accordingly, the probability of assistance in an emergency decreases as the number of bystanders increases. The reason for this is shifting responsibility to others, explained Gerd Bohner, Professor of Social Psychology at Bielefeld University. "Everyone thinks someone else will help." In the case of acts of violence, the fear of guessing that one is in danger can also deter an intervention.
Anyone under the age of 14 cannot be penalized
Are the alleged attackers now facing a penalty? No criminal proceedings can be initiated against children under 14 - not even in the case of dangerous bodily harm. According to the public prosecutor's office in Baden-Baden, it is common in such cases for the youth welfare office to be notified. This checks measures and also whether, for example, parents have fulfilled their duty of care. In the worst case, custody could be withdrawn.