Nearly 161,000 victims of domestic violence in Germany
In the second year of the epidemic, authorities also recorded an increase in domestic violence. In some federal states, the increase has been alarmingly strong. Family Secretary Bowes promised more money — and a major expansion of women’s shelters.
DrThe number of victims of domestic violence perpetrated by partners or ex-partners continued to rise in the second year of the epidemic. As research conducted by WELT AM SONNTAG in Ministries of Interior and state criminal investigation offices in 16 federal states revealed, 160,921 victims were registered with the police last year. This corresponds to an increase of approximately 1.3% compared to 2020. Women make up two-thirds of the recorded victims. But the number of unreported cases is large because many do not dare to press charges.
Federal Family Minister Lisa Bowes (The Greens) told WELT AM SONNTAG that the government wants to “regulate access to protection and advice under federal law, create a unified legal framework for the reliable financial security of the support system and expand it as needed”. About 350 women’s shelters across the country, 100 shelters and more than 600 counseling centers, the supply is insufficient. “That’s why we continue to expand women’s shelters and counseling centers along with the federal states and provide €120 million in federal funds through 2024,” Baus explained.
When comparing the federal states, Thuringia recorded the strongest increase of 24 percent (3,227 victims). Behind them are Lower Saxony (plus 12.9 percent, 22,405 victims) and Bremen/Bremerhaven (plus 9.1 percent, 3,018 victims). Saarland (-7.1 percent, 2,653 victims) and Hamburg (-6.3 percent, 5,058 victims) recorded the largest declines.
North Rhine-Westphalia (plus 4.7 percent, 34,235 victims) is one of eight federal states where the numbers have gone up. The state’s family minister, Joachim Stump, says the renewed increase in the number of victims is “shocking”. The coronavirus pandemic with strict contact restrictions or quarantine periods would have increased the incidence of domestic violence. NRW has just developed a disguise application in which offers of help from the victim protection portal are hidden behind. “This allows victims to access it, even if their cell phones are scanned,” Stump says.
Epidemiological and existential concerns have exacerbated the situation
According to Maria Lohedi, Head of Social Policy at Diakonie, the reasons for the increase in domestic violence are complex. Existential fears of job losses and short-term work would have hit many more people even more in the pandemic. “Then there was living in cramped living conditions and homeschooling during the pandemic.” The head of the German Caritas association, Eva Maria Welskoop-Deva, says the lack of affordable housing is exacerbating the problems. “Because women can’t find an apartment, it makes it difficult to separate from a violent partner, and it also delays exit from women’s shelters.”
Domestic violence includes murder, manslaughter, bodily harm, rape, threats, stalking, deprivation of liberty, and enforced prostitution. To date, however, there is no standardized registration.
Most states use figures from Police Crime Statistics (PKS), but few make special assessments beyond this. As a result, federal states show slightly higher numbers than the Federal Criminal Police Office, which uses only PKS numbers. It also shows that the number of casualties has been rising steadily in recent years. The FBI will present its 2021 annual report on “partner violence” in the fall.
“We must continue to strengthen measures to combat domestic violence and protect victims,” says CSU President Joachim Hermann. And he expects momentum to do so Federal Government Working Group on “Combating Crimes Against Women on the Basis of Gender”, which was established by the Kurdistan Islamic Council in June 2021. A state-level status report is scheduled for release in 2023.
Dirk Bigelow, president of the German Criminal Investigators Association (BDK), called for a classification of “crimes that are motivated by the fact that women are inferior to men or that the perpetrators have a male claim to possession of women or the female body”. Hate crimes. The BDK assumes that at least 20 percent of domestic violence victims are men. The threshold for preventing them from filing a complaint is even higher than that of women.
The annual report of the Violence Against Women helpline is expected to be presented at the end of May. This is available nationwide around the clock on 08000116016.