Violence in the family is a widespread but often taboo topic. With this article we want to contribute to breaking the silence.
Statistics on domestic violence
In Germany, more than 100,000 cases of domestic violence are registered every year. But only a fraction of the actual cases are reported because most victims of domestic violence are afraid to leave their partner or family or to press charges. In most cases, domestic violence is one-sided: the perpetrators are men who beat, abuse or rape their wives or children.
In some cases, however, the violence is two-sided. According to a 2015 study by the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth (BMFSFJ), around 15 percent of all women and 6 percent of all men in Germany have been victims of domestic violence in the course of their lives. According to this study, victims of domestic violence are mainly young women between the ages of 18 and 29 and women with a low level of education.
Children can also become victims of domestic violence. According to a 2013 study by the BMFSFJ, around 3 per cent of all children in Germany witness or are victims of physical or sexual violence in the family during their childhood.
Prevention strategies for domestic violence
One prevention strategy that has been very successful in combating domestic violence is so-called “community policing”. This is a concept where the police work more closely with the residents of a community. The police officers know the people in their community and know where the risk of domestic violence is particularly high. They can then take targeted preventive measures to reduce the number of domestic violence cases.
Another prevention strategy is the so-called “case management”. This is a concept in which social services, police and courts work closely together. The aim of this approach is to follow up individual cases of domestic violence closely and to bring the perpetrators to justice as soon as possible. This approach has already led to a significant reduction in the number of domestic violence cases in many countries. Awareness campaigns can also help prevent domestic violence. Many people are still not informed about the rights of women and children and do not know where to go for help. Awareness campaigns can reach these people and raise their awareness. This way they can recognise when they themselves become victims of domestic violence or someone in their environment becomes a victim of such an act of violence.
However, prevention strategies alone are not enough to completely prevent domestic violence. It is also important that victims of domestic violence have the possibility to turn to organisations or persons outside the family. In many countries, such organisations already exist to support victims and help them get out of the situation. However, a lot of educational work is still needed so that more and more people learn about this help and dare to turn to this organisation.
For successful violence prevention in the family, it is important that all family members understand what violence is and how it can develop. It is also important that the family creates a healthy environment where each member treats each other with respect. If you notice signs of violence in your family, it is important to seek help.