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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. 

Victims, their families, friends and professionals can get information about victim protection and legal proceedings free of charge and anonymously if they prefer. They can also get contact information for support organisations and points of contact. 

Gewalt gegen Frauen

Points of contact for women in an emergency
Women affected by violence can find protection in numerous state funded facilities using the Frauenhilfenetz (Women’s Help Network) in North Rhine-Westphalia or they can get advice and help:

  • 64 Women’s shelters provide women with children refuge as well as professional advice and support about how they can shape their lives independently in future.
  • 61 General women’s advice centres provide support through individual or group psychosocial counselling sessions in difficult problem and conflict situations, primarily after violence has been suffered.
  • 52 Specialist advice centres against sexual violence assist women and girls after they have experienced sexual violence with acute crisis intervention and psychological counselling. They can also accompany them to doctors, the police and the courts.
  • 8 Specialised advice centres for victims of human trafficking take care of victims and also provide safe accommodation where victims are prepared to testify against human traffickers.
  • 2 Specialised advice centres against forced marriage advise victims and their trusted persons anonymously and in a variety of languages. Social workers who are engaged with the topic professionally can also get in touch with these advice centres.
  • There is a specialist unit active across Germany which aims to prevent violence and protect girls and women with disabilities or chronic illnesses. Run by the Mädchenhaus (Girls’ House) in Bielefeld, the “Mädchen – sicher – inklusiv” (“Girls – Safe – Inclusive”) project offers online advice and supports girls and young women with advice services that have been tailored to their precise needs, among other things, and also by putting them in contact with specific support and help services.

Find help fast

You can search for women’s refuges and advice centres in your area on this Victim Protection Portal.

You can find detailed information on the topics of protection & support for women as well as on the numerous help services for victims on the website of the Ministry for Regional Identity, Communities and Local Government, Building and Gender Equality for the State of North Rhine-Westphalia:

The “Stärker als Gewalt” (“Stronger than Violence”) initiative being run by the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth explains different kinds of violence and calls on people to protect themselves against violence and to help persons affected by it.