You alone are in charge of your body and you alone decide who can touch you and who cannot. This also means that you alone decide whether or not a family member or your partner can touch you. It is forbidden for someone to touch you against your will or force you into carrying out sexual acts. The law calls this "sexual abuse".

No one is allowed to be physically violent, psychologically violent or sexually violent towards his/her partner. This means, for example, that it is forbidden to beat your partner, threaten him/her or rape him/her. It is also forbidden to lock up your partner and hold him/her captive against his/her will.

Help from the police and counselling centres

People who commit sexual violence will be punished.

If you are affected by violence in your relationship or marriage, you can go to a counselling centre or directly to the police.

You can also go to a women's refuge. Women's refuges are facilities that take in women who are mistreated by their partners/husbands and offer them protection and help. If the women have children, the children are also taken in with them. In most cases, women's refuges are managed by women or a women's group.

The helpline can help to put you into contact with a women's refuge.

"Violence Against Women" helpline

In Germany, there is a special source of help available for women who are affected by violence. The helpline "Gewalt gegen Frauen  (Violence Against Women)", telephone number 08000 - 116 016, is available all over Germany 24 hours a day. It is free to call this helpline and you do not have to tell the staff your name. The helpline staff will give you advice and more information on facilities in your area which can also help you further. There are interpreters who can give you advice in many languages.

People who have hearing problems can also make use of an interpreting service free of charge via the website (www.hilfetelefon.de). This website is available in a number of languages.   

Honour-based violence

Honour-based violence is when people use violence in order to enforce their idea of the honour of their family, religion or tradition. Examples of this type of violence include:

  • physical violence (for example, beating people)
  • sexual violence (for example, touching the partner against his/her will)
  • psychological pressure (for example, threatening the partner)
  • forced marriage 
  • honour killing

If you believe that you are in a dangerous situation like this, go to a counselling centre or directly to the police.

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