Domestic Violence

Where can I seek support in Germany?

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Domestic violence refers to the cases in which a family member, acquaintance or other person abuses you in a physical, sexual or emotional manner. Domestic violence usually takes place within homes, but can happen in any other place as well. Many people think of domestic violence as physical violence, i.e. sexual abuse or beatings. But domestic violence has various forms: being insulted, cursed at, threatened, or controlled is also domestic violence. And so is stalking, i.e. being followed and monitored by someone.

Any type of violence is punishable in Germany, i.e. the police are obliged to react when notified about domestic violence by you or a witness.

If you are a victim of domestic violence, remember that you are not alone. Studies show for example, that one in four women in Germany experience domestic violence. For many victims, it is difficult to share their experiences with the police or at a counselling centre. Many victims are ashamed and hope that the situation will change, that the violent person eventually calms down and stop his abusive behaviour. In most cases, however, the severity and frequency of the violence increase with time, and the gaps between the individual outbreaks of violence become shorter and shorter.

There are numerous contact points for victims of domestic violence in Germany- you must not shy away from reaching out for help.

What can I do?

Where can I seek help?

How can the police help me?

How can I protect myself afterwards?

Do I need a lawyer?

What types of support are available for children?

I am a man and a victim of domestic violence. Who can help me?

How can I support victims of domestic violence?


If you are married to someone who subjects you to domestic violence, you have the right to divorce without observing the legally designated separation year ("Trennungsjahr"). Find out more in our chapter "Divorce".