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Violence in partnership: Around 144,000 victims in Germany

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New police statistics on partnership violence were presented in Berlin on Thursday by Family Minister Lisa Paus (Greens) and Interior Minister Nancy Faeser (SPD), among others. In 2021, around 143,000 cases of intimate partner violence were recorded in the police statistics. This is a slight decrease compared to the previous year (almost 146,700). The number of victims also fell slightly: in 2021 it was a good 143,600, the year before a good 148,000. However, this is more of a stagnation at a high level than a trend reversal. In a five-year comparison, the total number of victims has increased by 3.4 percent.

Around 80 percent of the victims are women and around 20 percent are men. “Every hour, an average of 13 women suffer intimate partner violence. Almost every day a partner or ex-partner tries to kill a woman. Almost every third day a woman dies at the hands of her current or previous partner,” said Minister Paus.

Among others, Lisa Paus (Greens), Federal Minister for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth, and Nancy Faeser (SPD), Federal Minister for the Interior and Homeland, presented the current figures.
© dpa / Photo: dpa/Kay Nietfeld
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113 women and 14 men were victims of intimate partner violence with a fatal outcome. 121 of these cases are classified as murder or manslaughter, and there were also six cases of bodily harm resulting in death.

127

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people became victims of deadly partnership violence in Germany in 2021

Holger Münch, President of the Federal Criminal Police Office, and Petra Söchting, head of the “Violence against Women” help line, sat with the ministers on the podium. They all appealed to the victims to take advantage of counseling and support services.

Söchting described that the helpline was advised more than 54,000 times in 2021, which means an increase of around five percent compared to the previous year. The stresses caused by the corona pandemic are not a cause of violence, but have increased the risk of situations escalating. Anonymous and confidential contact is often an important first step out of violence. It is always the affected woman who decides what to do next.

There is also a help line for men, but this can only be reached during the weekdays. The offer is still under construction, said Minister Paus, it would be desirable to extend the consultation times.

Most of the offenses recorded were simple bodily harm (59.6 percent). 24.2 percent of the cases involved threats, stalking or coercion. The number of crimes committed via the Internet has risen significantly, which also has something to do with the tightening of criminal law in this area.

12.2 percent of the recorded offenses are considered dangerous bodily harm, 2.5 percent of the cases are rape, sexual coercion or other sexual assaults. Criminal offenses are registered in the police crime statistics at the time when the investigations are completed and the results are handed over to the public prosecutor’s office.

Holger Münch, President of the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA), presenting the findings.
Holger Münch, President of the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA), presenting the findings.
© dpa / Photo: dpa/Kay Nietfeld

It is unclear how many people become victims of intimate partner violence without this being included in the statistics. “The dark field is much larger, because many victims still do not dare to talk about what happened to them,” said Minister Paus. Two-thirds of the victims would not go to the police even after the most severe violence, so it can be assumed that the number of victims is significantly higher in real terms than can be seen in the statistics.

In order to shed light on the dark field, the Federal Ministry for Women, the Federal Ministry of the Interior and the Federal Criminal Police Office are currently having a representative survey carried out. Results can be expected in 2025, said BKA President Münch.

Paus said she wants to fight to close the gaps in the network of women’s shelters and counseling centers. A uniform legal basis for the financial security of the institutions is also in the works.

Criticism from opposition and social organizations

Opposition and social organizations criticize that there have been too few concrete results in this area. Verena Bentele, President of the social association VdK, said on Thursday that it was a fatal signal that the traffic light government had not yet implemented the measures to protect women against violence from the coalition agreement.

Heidi Reichinnek, women’s policy spokeswoman for the Left parliamentary group in the Bundestag, criticized the federal government for cutting funds for the expansion and conversion of barrier-free women’s shelters by more than 30 percent. The lack of an overall strategy to effectively combat violence against women is catastrophic.

When presenting the data, Interior Minister Faeser called for violence against women to be clearly identified and not played down. She opposed euphemisms such as “relationship drama” in reporting on intimate partner violence.

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Source: Tagesspiegel

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