In the Seventies of the last century, the activities of so-called “Youth Religions" (vulgo: sects/cults) increased dramatically also in Austria. At the same time the methods used by those groups to suppress (and eliminate) the free will of their members and the consequences of this influence upon the individual became obvious.
In 1977, our organisation was founded as Verein zur Wahrung der geistigen Freiheit (Society for the Preservation of Spiritual Freedom) by concerned relatives and experts interested in the problem.
Because of our association’s engaged educational work an inter-ministerial working group on "Pseudoreligiöse Organisationen" (pseudoreligious organisations) was set up which finally asked our association to create a centre for documentation. As from 1992, our association adopted its new name Gesellschaft gegen Sekten- und Kultgefahren (Association Against the Dangers of Sects and Cults). Its mission was to gather information and offer counselling with utmost care not to create misunderstanding.
The centre at Obere Augartenstraße 26-28 is a non-political and non-confessional institution in Austria which deals with the problem of extreme religions and other questionable movements.
The activity of the association is non-profit oriented. Its exclusive goal is to limit the damage caused by destructive cults to individuals, to their friends and families and to the community.
Necessary and possible areas of activity:
Our duty is to assist people who are concerned by the problem of extreme religious movements by counselling and prevention. From this, various areas of activities emerge:
Assistance to relatives of cult members, providing information programmes for those who are in danger of falling victim to the fascination of a cult, support for ex-members to help their return to "normal" life and backing to obtain financial compensation from the group they have left. These activities which are the main tasks of our consulting centre would urgently need expansion in the face of the fast-growing cult scene.
Collecting and keeping records of source- and informational material which is essentially our core work and is permanently developed and updated by our co-workers and members.
Besides this, permanent information of the public authorities and information of professionals and the public about the methods, activities and goals of destructive cults. This is done by informational conferences in schools and other educational establishments and by support of media in reporting.
To meet all these self-imposed tasks, we also need support! If you are concerned by this problem because one of your friends or relatives has joined an extreme religious movement or because you share our concerns for any other reason or because you want to help us by financial contributions, by co-operation or information, please contact us!
But mainly you should contact us if you need help! We will always try to assist you within the limits of our possibilities!
The "Gesellschaft gegen Sekten- und Kultgefahren" is a member of FECRIS, http://fecris.org , the "European Federation of Centres of Research and Information on Cults and Sects".