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Anonymous Collection of Forensic Evidence

The experiences of women’s support services show that it is a difficult decision for victims of sexual violence whether to file a police complaint or not. In particular, the fact that they need to make a decision immediately owing to the need to collect forensic evidence soon after the attack can be overwhelming for women who are often still in a state of shock.

Bodily Harm

The criminal offence of bodily harm can encompass both psychological and physical injuries to health. These crimes can take place in any conceivable situation. Nevertheless, they frequently occur in the immediate social context. In these cases, it is referred to as “domestic violence”. Victims frequently experience such violence as serious intrusions into their person. In addition to physical injuries, they can also frequently cause anxiety or even significant traumatic injury.

Break-Ins

A break-in is the unauthorised entry into a demarcated area such as a house or an apartment by breaking down an obstacle (e.g. a door or a window). Break-ins usually occur with the aim of taking possession of items and/or information, that is, to commit burglary.

Bullying

Bullying normally takes place in school or at work.Colleagues or classmates are continuously harassed, embarrassed, passively avoided by a majority who refuse to have contact with them or met with other forms of anti-social behaviour. In this way, their dignity is violated.

Child Abuse

Child abuse begins with crying babies being shaken or children being harmed through punishments, slapping or the deprivation of love. This kind of harm can come about as a result of psychological or physical actions (such as physical and emotional abuse) and also inaction (as with neglect).

Child and Youth Protection

Children and young persons are frequently the victims of violence and crime. Violence in the form of sexual abuse is particularly serious. However, theft, robbery, domestic violence and bodily harm also constitute dangers for children and young persons.

Child Sex Abuse

Adults and young persons aged 14 or older are punishable by law if they perform sexual acts on girls or boys under the age of 14 or if they get girls or boys under the age of 14 to perform sexual acts on them.

Criminal Offences against the Elderly

Elderly people are the preferred victims of con artists and tricksters, who make cunning and methodical use of credulity and uncertainty to their own advantage. In addition to the significant financial losses that are often suffered, the mental distress it causes is particularly onerous for victims. This can manifest itself in self-doubt, shame, and loss of confidence. It can even lead to victims completely isolating themselves.

Cyber-Crime/Digital Violence

Cyber-crime or digital violence is a collective term for computer crime and encompasses a wide variety of different criminal offences. Cyber-crime offences are characterised by a large number of different forms of criminal act.

Domestic Violence

Domestic violence includes any form of physical, sexual and/or psychological violence between persons who usually live in the same household. It is not important whether the persons are married, in a registered partnership or simply live together.

Family Counselling

Families can get in contact with around 270 family counselling centres in North Rhine-Westphalia should they require help in stressful emergency situations. The service, which is funded by the Ministry for Children, Families, Refugees and Integration for the State of North Rhine-Westphalia, is free of charge.

Forced Marriage

In the event of forced marriage, future brides or grooms are forced by their parents or family to enter into marriage against their will. Girls and young women in particular are then frequently unable to complete their education or learn a vocation, soon become pregnant and are completely dependent on their husband in every respect.

Gender Roles

The State Government actively supports the dissemination of information and raising awareness among the public in order to promote respect and tolerance and to break down prejudices towards lesbians, gay men, bisexual people, trans* people, inter* people and queer people in everyday life. LGBTIQ* is an abbreviation of: Lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans*, inter* and queer people:

Genital Mutilation

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), female genital mutilation describes all procedures which have the partial or full removal of the external female genitalia or their injury as their goal.

Hate Crime

Perpetrators of hate crime live out their personal prejudices through violence and criminal acts aimed at other social groups. The motivation behind their violent attacks is often a sense of insecurity, personal failure, low self esteem, fear of new things or xenophobia. They compensate for their lack of tolerance by demeaning these social groups and attacking them violently.

Human Trafficking

The most common forms of human trafficking include sexual exploitation, exploitative working conditions, the exploitation of workers, the exploitation of humans as beggars, the exploitation of humans as organ donors and compelling humans to commit criminal offences.

Loverboys

The loverboy scam always follows the same pattern: Offenders pretend that they have found their one true love, make girls or young women emotionally dependent on them and then force them into prostitution. Initial contact is usually made via social networks and dating sites. Loverboys begin this process by deliberately seeking out girls and young women who demonstrate low self-esteem or who are having problems at school or with their families.

Offender-Victim Mediation

Offender-victim mediation is an opportunity for victims and the persons responsible for a criminal offence to resolve conflicts that have arisen owing to an offence out of court. It is voluntary, fair and neutral, confidential, free of charge and non-bureaucratic. In principle, it can be used for every kind of criminal offence and is possible at any stage of criminal proceedings. Offender-victim mediation is prepared, carried out and supervised by qualified and neutral mediators.

Political Extremism

Extremist groups, organisations and parties pose a danger to a democratic society because they are opposed to the basic order of a free and democratic society. Extremists usually claim absolute truth for their ideology. Their thinking is reduced to categories of friend or foe, which are typical for extremist ideologies and go hand in hand with a strong propensity to believe in conspiracy theories, populist simplifications of complex issues and a marked adherence to their own views.

Road Traffic Accidents

A serious traffic accident can change the lives of all those involved forever and can result in severe physical and psychological injuries as well as lifelong debilitations. Every district police authority has set up its own “Road Traffic Accident Prevention/Victim Protection” department so that victims can get help. Injured parties who need care and support after a road traffic accident will find suitable help here.

Robbery

The law considers robbery to be the taking of someone else’s property with the threat or use of violence. Offences of this nature are punished according to the German Criminal Code, whereby the law distinguishes between different forms of robbery and the severity of the victim’s injuries.

Sexual Violence

Every sexual attack is deeply humiliating for victims and damages their self-image and their feeling of self-worth. The consequences of such attacks for victims can go beyond visible physical evidence. Victims often suffer from the psychological consequences of the offence for a long time afterwards.

Stalking

Stalkers force their victims to have contact with them in order to exercise power and control. Victims often know their stalkers and many incidents of stalking develop out of relationships and former relationships. Persons who are being persistently and illegally pursued, harassed, threatened or terrorised by a stalker can report this as a criminal offence at any police station. In some cases, this can cause the stalker to stop harassing his or her victim.

Trauma Clinics

Victims of severe criminal violence can get help and support in designated trauma clinics in North Rhine-Westphalia. They will receive initial care there from doctors and mental healthcare professionals promptly and free of charge. They will also receive help applying for compensation in accordance with the Victim Compensation Act.

Violence against Men

Until now, there has only been a piecemeal help structure in place for boys and men as well as gay men, bisexual men, transgender people, transsexuals and intersex people affected by violence. Furthermore, there is little verifiable information about the extent to which violence is committed against men. However, it is beyond doubt that men experience violence as victims, for example, during childhood, on the street, in institutions and also in relationships.

Violence against Women

Violence against women and girls occurs at every level of society and has many faces. Whether it is physical or emotional, domestic violence in a marriage or relationship, sexual assault or rape, harassment, cyber-violence or stalking, human trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation, forced marriage or general genital mutilation – in North Rhine-Westphalia, specialised protection and advice services for all forms of violence are available to women seeking help.

Violence in Care for the Elderly

Physically weak and elderly people in care homes are at particular risk of becoming victims of violence. Violence in care for the elderly can occur in a domestic context and also in outpatient and inpatient care for the elderly. This includes the neglect of people in need of care, but also mistreatment of any kind.

Youth Welfare Service

The Youth Welfare Service carries out the tasks of the local public youth welfare organisation. The purpose of public youth welfare is to promote the education and development of young people. Nevertheless, public youth welfare is not delegated an independent educational mandate since parents have a natural right to care for and raise their children under the law.