Hilfetelefon "Gewalt gegen Frauen"

Relatives, friends, acquaintances, neighbours – support for anyone wishing to help a woman affected by violence

Your best friend has seemed anxious and fearful lately, but has doggedly been avoiding your questions. You suspect that your friend is being beaten by her partner because she recently had cuts and bruises on her face. What can you do? Or perhaps a victim of violence has turned to you directly and asked for your help? No matter what the story is, you can always call the Violence against women support hotline and ask for advice. Our support is not just for women who are victims, but also for people close to them – we are there for anyone who is dealing with violence against women.

If this is the first time you have dealt with this subject, you probably have a lot of questions. Often it is hard to find answers to such questions on your own. Maybe you feel like you are out of your depth or are afraid of doing the wrong thing. If that is the case it might help to simply contact us and ask for support. You can tell us what you are worried about, what you have observed and talk about your suspicions. We can advise you at any time of the day or night, completely confidentially, securely and free of charge. We take whatever it is you need to talk about seriously – there are no bad questions. If you would like to learn more about the Violence against women support hotline or you would like to know in more detail what we can do for you, you will find answers to a number of common questions about our services below.

The primary goal of the Violence against women support hotline is to provide the victims of violence against women with counselling and support. Professionals who come into contact with violence against women in the course of their work or volunteer activities can also turn to us at any time. We additionally offer our services to any and all people who wish to help women who have become the victim of violence, be they relatives, friends or acquaintances. It makes no difference whether you are contacting us of your own accord or because a victim has asked you to contact us: each and every call receives our full attention.

You contact our hotline from anywhere in Germany at any time 365 days a year – weekends, holidays and time of the day or night make no difference. Your call is always completely free of charge.

If a woman close to you has become the victim of violence, you are likely faced with a great challenge yourself. Maybe your friend has confided in you details that are disturbing to you or otherwise affecting you emotionally. Maybe you even know the aggressor personally and feel out of your depth. Or perhaps you simply feel you lack the expert knowledge to be able to adequately deal with certain events or things you have been told and are feeling uncertain because of this. Feelings and conflicts like these are completely normal and very understandable. As a person trying to provide support you are not alone in needing support yourself. We can listen to what you have to say and work together with you to find solutions.

It often isn’t easy to fully assess a situation where a woman may have become the victim of violence. We will gladly use our experience to help advise you in such instances. We can use our own past observations to try and help you find ways of providing support. Should you be afraid that children are also being affected by violence or should you be present when their mother is beaten, we can be there to support you and discuss with you possible steps to take.

Maybe you would like to know how your friend or relative can get in touch with us. Or maybe you would like to make sure we are the right people for her to contact with her problem. Or perhaps you are contacting us because your friend or relative is afraid to do it herself. All these are very good reasons to call the support hotline.

Often times, victims of violence have a hard time asking for help. Family and friends can thus be crucial in helping them get the support they need. That said, no matter how important it is to receive advice from others: every woman has a right to make her own decisions and not be pressured into doing something. You can offer her your support and make it clear that you are there for her whenever she needs it. You can offer to call us together with her or to call us yourself and tell her about our conversation. By doing so you can help give her effective support.

Many women who are or have been the victims of violence feel helpless and don’t know where to turn and feel deeply emotionally hurt, forsaken, hopeless, angry, sad or ashamed. We can talk with them about their fears and worries and as a first step give them a shoulder to lean on. For some women, merely talking about what happened can be freeing. For others it is very important to receive information about local options where they can go for support in person long term. We can provide information on appropriate services in their area. We try to help every woman in her own personal situation so that she receives exactly the support she needs.

No matter what course a conversation takes, callers are under no obligation to share anything with us that they don’t wish to share. We do not force our help on people, but rather orient ourselves at all times on what each woman needs. We don’t require anything and are happy to simply listen. The person calling decides what the conversation will be about and in what form they would like our support.

There are many reasons why you might want to call the Violence against women support hotline. However, no matter what your particular issue is: we take your questions and your wishes very seriously and will give you our full attention. And this applies equally to callers who are themselves not directly victims of violence.

Whether you are dealing with violence in a marriage or from a partner, sexual aggression or rape, stalking, forced prostitution or genital mutilation, we can advise individually on all forms of violence against women and will take your very personal and specific experiences into account. We can also answer questions with respect to sexual harassment at the workplace, arranged marriage or cyber violence – and will work together with you to find solutions.

Even if the things you describe or what victims have described to you don’t match the forms of violence described above exactly, we will still try to help you. Every call to us receives the same attention – even if the caller isn’t sure they are looking for help in the right place.

We aim to help as many people as possible with our hotline, both victims of violence themselves and people confronted with violence against women in their social environment.

Even if you don’t speak German or can’t express yourself well enough in German, the Violence against women support hotline can usually provide you with support. Our counsellors can simply contact an interpreter so that you can ask all the questions you need without added stress and in the language you are most comfortable in. We provide telephone counselling in Turkish, Russian, French, English, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Polish, Serbo-Croatian, Chinese, Bulgarian, Romanian, Arabic, Persian and Vietnamese as well.

We understand that placing a call to us perhaps isn’t an easy thing for you to do. Which is why we value the trust you place in us even more highly. We have thus made sure that the Violence against women support hotline is fully secure so that your trust remains confidential. All calls to us are treated completely confidentially. You can ask questions anonymously at any time and can rest assured that we will not record your personal data or pass it on to anyone else. Your call to us cannot be traced back to you. Likewise, when you surf our website we do not save any information about you. In addition, our website also features an “Emergency exit” button, which when you click it takes you off our website with a single click. Via the button “Online security” you will find full information on surfing securely and anonymously.

All of our counsellors are female and highly experienced, trained professionals. The person you will be talking to is thus well prepared for your call and will be able to respond to your specific needs during the phone call.

We have a comprehensive database with information on the numerous local support agencies across Germany at our disposal. Our database is continually updated and expanded.
One thing is very important for us though: we never pass on any information to other agencies without the express consent of the woman concerned. If a woman does not wish to take advantage of concrete support options, we support her in other ways as best we can.

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