Sexual offences come in many different varieties and forms, for example:
- Harassment on the street
- Verbal sexual harassment in the workplace
- A sexual atmosphere or attacks by persons within the family or a circle of friends
- Sexual attacks by doctors, teachers or strangers
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.
The victim’s relationship to the offender is irrelevant for an offence. Whether married, friends, acquaintances or strangers: A “no” from the victim turns the perpetrator’s actions into a punishable offence. If the victim is unable to exercise his or her opposing will or cannot express it because he or she has been drugged, for example, or is limited in his or her ability to form or express his or her will owing to his or her physical or psychological condition, sexual acts of any kind are also punishable.
Anonymous collection of forensic evidence
Women who do not want to file a police complaint immediately after a rape have the opportunity to have forensic evidence taken anonymously and legally documented. You can find further information about the anonymous collection of forensic evidence on this Victim Protection Portal.
Find help fast
Women’s advice centres and specialist advice centres against sexual violence in North Rhine-Westphalia can advise on every question about sexual violence and can put victims in touch with help and support services.
The Women’s Information Network against violence offers information about free places in women’s refuges for women who have been victims of sexual violence in a relationship.
The Ministry for Equality has compiled helpful information for girls and women who are affected by violence.
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.
Victims of sexual violence can find detailed information on the kinds of sexual offence and what one can do against it as a victim on the following police websites:
The Federal and State Police Commission for the Prevention of Crime