German Policy on Domestic Violence

In 1999, the Federal Government presented its 1st "Action Plan to Combat Violence against Women" (API). Its main objectives were, inter alia, to create a model for action, applicable for the 16 federal Laender and to present possibilities for collaboration among the Federal Government, the Laender and NGOs. The measures of the 1st AP having been fully implemented, the 2nd "Action Plan to Combat Violence against Women"(AP II) with new focal points was adopted by the Federal Government in September 2007. It aims at improving the efficiency of combating violence against women and at improving their protection. Like its predecessor, it addresses all forms of violence and summarises the measures the Federal Government has committed itself to. It deals with:

  1. Prevention
  2. Federal Legislation
  3. Support/counselling for women affected by violence
  4. National networking in the aid system
  5. Co-operation state institutions/NGOs
  6. Work with perpetrators
  7. Qualification and awareness building
  8. Research
  9. European/international co-operation
  10. Support for women abroad

The 2nd AP represents a follow-up where special needs for action had been identified by the 1st AP. It pays greater attention to women with a migrant background, disabled women and the medical care sector. Additional emphasis is placed on prevention at the earliest possible opportunity and on better coordination of child/youth protection measures with the protection of women and the health sector. In the meantime the measures of the 2nd AP are fully implemented too.

In August 2012 the Federal Government published its first Report on the Situation of Women’s Shelters, Women’s Counseling Services and the Women’s Support System, which is a baseline study on the very differentiated support system, its functioning and its financial resources in the federal system, where the provision of the support system falls within the competence of the Laender. According to the report by now Germany has round about 400 shelters and 500 specialized counseling services and the Federal Government will continue strengthening the womens support system and the victims.

For more information on the report (in German only) please click,property=pdf,bereich=bmfsfj,sprache=de,rwb=true.pdf

On March 2013 the nationwide Violence against women support hotline went online. This toll free telephone hotline can be reached 24 hours per day, seven days per week under the number 08000 116 016. About 80 female counselors help callers in several languages to find their way to the local support system. The hotline is barrier free, can also be reached via chat and online under

For further information in German only):,did=185464.html and in English and several other languages

Linked here are a representative study on violence against Women and on violence in intimate partner relationships.and research findings on intervention projects against domestic violence.For more information on the Action Plans and their implementation (in German only) please click.

In recent years the role of men as perpetrators and victims of intimate partner violence has surfaced. As a first step, the Federal Government created a working group on "Gender-specific aspects of violence in households and intimate partnerships focusing on men", which met between July 2011 and November 2012. The group assessed research so far done, both nationally and internationally, looked into the question of men as victims, and examined violence in non-heterosexual partnerships. Specific needs of men, both as perpetrators and victims, were highlighted and various aspects of a prospective broad gender-differentiated study into violence within households and intimate partnerships were discussed, such as possible items, definitions, and the possible set-up of such a study.

The Federal Working Group on Offenders of Domestic Violence (Bundesarbeitsgemeinschaft Täterarbeit Häusliche Gewalt) is an important source of information for Federal Government in the area of working with offenders. The BAG TäHG is an interinstitutional and intercultural roof organization for institutions working with offenders of domestic violence in Germany. In cooperation with women’s support institutions the BAG TäHG has developed good standards for an effective work with offenders of domestic violence and is supported by the Federal Government.

For more information on the working group (in German only) please click,did=88230.html and

Contact details:
National organisations