In Germany, there is an extensive support system for women affected by violence. This system comprises women’s shelters and safe houses for women, as well as specialised counselling centres, which include women’s counselling centres, emergency hotlines for women, intervention centres in cases of domestic and sexualised violence or stalking, just as telephone assistance services such as the nationwide “Violence Against Women Support Hotline“.
The support system is geared towards all women who experience violence, regardless of when and in which form, regardless of age, disability, level of education, sexual identity, social status, or ethnic origin. Sometimes there are age-specific and gender-specific support services for children who have also experienced violence. There are as well possibilities for supporting the social environment of the persons concerned and for supporting professionals.
The support system aims at protecting women against violence, at assisting them with coping with the physical, social and economic consequences of violence, and at reducing violence against violence within society.
Despite the differentiated support system, assistance for women and children affected by violence cannot be adequately guaranteed. The service offers vary from one region to another, many locations lack staff and material resources, and there is no regular funding. More information on this can be found in the section on funding the help system. Moreover, there is still no coherent legal framework. This is why FHK advocates that persons affected by violence are granted a legal claim to protection and help.
Federal Government Report on the Situation of Women’s Shelters, Counselling Centres, and Other Support Services for Women Affected by Violence and Their Children, published by the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth, Berlin 2012 (PDF, in German).