Ways out of violence

Call the police

If you are acutely affected by violence or feel threatened, call the police (number: 110) and state your whereabouts on the phone, briefly describe what has happened to you or simply mention the keyword “domestic violence”. The police are there to protect you in such a situation.

Get yourself (and your children) to safety. A good lockable room is the bathroom, especially if it has a window and you can send out calls for help like “Help! Call the police”. If you have the impression that your calls for help are not taken seriously, you can also call “Fire”. If possible, take your phone with you so that you can get further help.

– Are you unsure whether what you are experiencing can be described as violence? Do not hesitate! If your are situated in Bielefeld call us at the Women’s Counselling Centre, Bielefeld: +49 521 121597. We take the time for you and also offer counselling in English, French, Turkish, Russian and Polish!

– Outside our office hours, you can reach the nationwide around-the-clock Violence against women support Hotline under the number +49 800 116 016. Here you can get initial support and important information in various languages.

During the police intervention

When the police arrive, tell them what happened and what you are afraid of. Also tell them about previous acts of violence. The police are required to question you and the violent person separately, to secure evidence and to take photographs.

The police can order a Temporary restraining order (TRO) limited for 10 days or take the violent person into custody. Within the 10 days you can apply for further protective measures at the district court. You can find out more about your legal options here.

At the end of the police intervention, the police officer should give you all the important documents. These can be important evidence in applications for protection orders at court and they usually contain a file number for follow-up questions. With this, it is easier to allocate the documents when filing an application – whether through a lawyer or by yourself at the district court. The police officer should also ask you whether your personal data can be forwarded to the Domestic Violence Intervention Centre. This centre is a non-municipal organisation and is there to support you for a period of time after the police intervention in your decision-making about how to proceed. They will usually contact you by telephone, provided you have consented to your details being passed on.

After the police intervention: document injuries

If you have suffered physical injuries, have them documented in the emergency room of a hospital, if possible. Tell the person treating you about all the violent acts that you suffered, as this is the only way to document all the injuries. Keep torn or soiled clothing in a paper bag or cloth bag in a safe place. They could be important evidence. You can also take photos of injuries on several consecutive days, e.g., with the help of a trusted person, as bruises/haematomas often become more visible on the following days.

In the case of children

In cases of domestic violence, the police must always send a fax to the city of Bielefeld. If children are also involved because they live in the same household and may have been direct witnesses to the violence or affected by the violence themselves, the fax must always be forwarded to the Youth Welfare Office. The Youth Welfare Office classifies domestic violence as a possible child endangerment and will therefore contact the Parents or the parent with whom the children live. Normally, staff of the Youth Welfare Office will then visit the home at least once to check on the well-being of the children. As part of this contact, the Youth Welfare Office also offers assistance for the children through educational counselling centres.

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