Germany. Sexual violence by strangers - Labirint
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Germany. Sexual violence by strangers

    Germany. Sexual violence by strangers

    We have collected instructions, recommendations and contacts, which can help you in the chosen country and situation

    01. Call the Police

    — What should I do if I am in danger and need emergency help?

    The phone number to reach the police in Germany is 110.

    Do I need documents to call the police?

    No. Everyone is entitled to avail of police assistance regardless of documents or official registration.

    — If I have any migration issues (e.g., visa overstay), is it safe for me to call the police?

    Calling the police is generally safe even if migration issues exist. Police may seek personal information such as name, date of birth, citizenship, etc. Police should thereby learn that the individual may not be entitled to stay in Germany; it is obligated to inform the immigration authority in charge (Sec. 87(2) German Residence Act). However, the local immigration authority is responsible to act lawfully in assessing each case based on its facts and the law. While mere communication with the police will thus not alter the facts of each individual case, it may of course trigger attention to a particular case on the part of the immigration authority.

    It is important to note, however, that German law provides for exceptional legal grounds to seek entitlement to stay within Germany in cases of domestic violence. Where the individual derives her right to reside in Germany from her spouse, German law grants an independent right of residence of one year in case marital cohabitation ends. This would require (i) marital cohabitation to have lawfully existed for at least three years or (ii) the foreign spouse has passed away during marital cohabitation. The requirement of a three-year long marital cohabitation may be waived upon the discretion of the immigration authority if this would pose particular hardship. Such hardship is deemed to apply especially if domestic violence has occurred (Sec. 31(2) German Residence Act).

    02. Get medical help

    How to get medical help?

    Emergency medical help can be reached in Germany at 112.

    — Do I need documents to get medical help?

    Medical staff are under an obligation to help people that need medical assistance irrespective of their status, documents or finances. Typically, doctors will enquire about personal information including the status of insurance. If no insurance exists, this should be brought to the attention of the doctor/medical staff. Some clinics or hospitals are prepared to offer medical assistance at reduced or in certain circumstances at no costs.

    If costs are nevertheless incurred, the clinic/hospital may address the local social welfare office and apply for financial assistance. Such assistance would, however, only cover urgent medical care, but must be granted irrespective of the immigration status of the individual.

    — If I have migration issues (e.g., visa overstay), is it safe for me to ask for medical help? 

    No, medical staff are generally under an obligation of confidentiality and may not transmit information about the patient to the immigration authority or police.

    What rights do I have?

    As previously, stated, medical staff is generally under an obligation to help people that need medical assistance. In cases of emergencies, it is thus the patient’s right to ask for medical assistance. Please note, however, that the determination of whether or not an emergency is at hand is naturally a medical one that will be assessed by medical staff.

    If medical staff suspects that I am a survivor of a crime, do they have to report to the police? 

    Generally, medical staff is under an obligation of confidentiality (see above). In certain extraordinary circumstances, medical staff may, however, be released from such obligation if there is an indication of an emergency (Notstand) that justifies the lifting of professional obligations for the sake of protecting a victim.

    What will happen next?

    If medical staff is of the opinion that an emergency is at hand that would require the authorities to intervene to prevent greater harm, this would typically be reported to the police. The latter may then investigate further and take the actions necessary to prevent greater harm to the victim.

    Legislation punishing domestic and intimate partner sexual violence

    If medical staff is of the opinion that an emergency is at hand that would require the authorities to intervene to prevent greater harm, this would typically be reported to the police. The latter may then investigate further and take the actions necessary to prevent greater harm to the victim.

    Legislation punishing domestic and intimate partner sexual violence

    Domestic and intimate partner sexual violence is punishable under German criminal law and may further trigger civil liability and related consequences. Depending on the particular act(s), one or more statutory criminal offenses may have been committed that may result in respective punishment. Criminal offenses are set forth in the German Criminal Code (Strafgesetzbuch) (see list below). Most importantly in 2016, Germany updated its law punishing rape (Sec. 177 German Criminal Code) (“No Means No-Legislation”). Under the new legislation, the perpetrator must have performed sexual actions “against the discernible will” of the victim. Thus, any explicit or implicit expression by the victim that the respective sexual actions are against her will suffice. Pursuant to the legislative materials, crying or acts of defense will constitute typical expressions. In addition, any such acts will typically qualify as further criminal offenses that may be prosecuted.

    List of articles from administrative and criminal codes

    • Sec. 174 German Criminal Code (Sexual Abuse of Persons in One’s Charge)
    • Sec. 176 German Criminal Code (Sexual Abuse of Children)
    • Sec. 177 German Criminal Code (Sexual Assault)
    • Sec. 178 German Criminal Code (Sexual Assault Resulting in Death)
    • Sec. 184i German Criminal Code (Sexual Harassment)
    • Sec. 223 German Criminal Code (Bodily Harm)
    • Sec. 224 German Criminal Code (Dangerous Bodily Harm)
    • Sec. 226 German Criminal Code (Grievous Bodily Harm)
    • Sec. 226a German Criminal Code (Female Genital Mutilation)
    • Sec. 229 German Criminal Code (Negligent Bodily Harm)

    03. Get in touch with a helping organization

    List of local NGOs who can help victims of domestic and sexual violence

    Women’s shelters

    Please note that:

    — Women’s shelters offer protected temporary housing for women (and their children) of any nationality.

    — You can call a women’s shelter any time, day or night.

    — The addresses of women’s shelters are kept strictly confidential.

    — Men are not allowed into women’s shelters.

    — Accommodation at a women’s shelter is free; some shelters provide food/supplies whilst others require you to provide your own food/supplies.

    — You receive comprehensive counseling and support in a women’s shelter.

    — A stay at a women’s shelter will not automatically result in divorce, and you will not be reported to the immigration authorities (Ausländerbehörde).

    The following are institutions that may offer immediate assistance and mostly have offices in many cities:

    Autonomes Frauenhaus

    Hestia-Frauenhaus

    Autonomes Frauenhaus

    Frauenhaus BORA

    Frauenhaus CARITAS

    Interkulturelles Frauenhaus

    Therapeutische Frauenwohngemeinschaft Bora

    Women’s advice centers and intervention agencies

    — Social and legal advice

    — Information about police and legal measures

    — Help with finding a women’s shelter or sheltered apartment

    — Support when dealing with authorities and when looking for an apartment

    — Legal counsel, group programs, childcare, etc. All advice is confidential, free of charge and offered by employees who speak foreign languages and are familiar with sign language. Interpreters can also be provided, where necessary.

    The following local institutions may offer assistance:

    Frauenberatungsstelle Tara, Tel.: 787 18 340, Advice provided in German, English, Persian and Turkish

    FRAUENRAUM, Tel.: 448 45 28, Advice provided in German and English

    Frauenberatung BORA, Tel.: 927 47 07, Advice provided in German, English, French, Persian, Polish and Russian

    Frauentreffpunkt, Tel.: 622 22 60, SMS: 0151-567 40 945, Advice provided in German, English, Polish, Spanish and sign language

    Interkulturelle Beratungsstelle, Tel.: 80 19 59 80, Advice provided in German, Armenian, English, French, Serbo-Croatian, Persian, Polish, Russian, Spanish and Turkish. Disabled access

    Did our instructions help?

    When compiling the instructions, we relied on the help of volunteers and lawyers from different countries. If something went wrong — the organization didn’t respond to you, you found a bug or the instructions weren’t precise enough — tell us about it. Email us at: help@labirint.online

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