Domestic violence

What can you do? / How can you help?

In many cases, domestic violence does not commence overnight and directly with physical violence. Usually it is a very slow and insidious process. It can be a warning signal if your partner starts controlling you or your social contacts or is excessively jealous. If you can detect warning signals you might become more sensitive to realising if a potential for violence exists in your partnership. Setting limits at an early stage can possibly prevent an escalation.

If you are seriously threatened make an emergency call to the police (call 110). Give your name and address and stress that you are in need of immediate help. Tell the police if you are injured, if there are children or other people in your home, if the perpetrator is still present and if he has weapons. Get yourself and any children to a safe place, e.g. at a neighbour’s, in shops or your own flat until the police arrives.

No woman needs to come to terms with domestic violence by herself. Professional counselling services support women concerned and threatened women. Refer to a women’s counselling centre close to where you live for example. A woman counsellor will then support you in developing specific means of action, elaborating a personal safety concept and finding out what legal options you have. Alternatively, she can help you to come to terms with a violent past. If you need protection, the counselling centre will assist you in finding a women’s refuge you can go to.

If you know a woman experiencing domestic violence, you can also turn to a women’s counselling centre, where it can be jointly worked out how you can support the woman concerned. Do not put women affected by violence under pressure, and do not introduce measures against their will, even if you do find this hard.