What are women’s shelters?

Women’s shelters are especially safe places of protection and refuge that cannot be found in any address register. All women – be they with or without children – who experience physical, sexual or mental abuse will be provided safety and support there – irrespective of their origin, residential or financial status. In cases of emergency, women’s shelters will also open their doors at night.

How does life in a women’s shelter look like?

Despite their differences, such shelters have one thing in common: Their inhabitants find themselves and their children in a protected space where they can build up new strength. And they are also always part of a community of women and children with similar experiences. Shelters are equipped with rooms where women can retreat and be on their own and rooms that are used communally (kitchen, living room, play rooms for children, etc.). Every women looks independently after herself and her children, and many shelters also offer childcare services.

What kind of assistance do affected women receive?

All women’s shelter offer free counselling und supporting services that can help in coping with the experienced violence and in developing new perspectives on life.

Women and children, who have found refuge in a women’s shelter, receive information and help with questions regarding their own livelihood, rights of care and custody, separation and divorce, as well as other therapy services. There are also services that specifically address children in a women’s shelter. 

How long can women and their children stay in a women’s shelter?

As a rule, they can stay as long as necessary. The stay in a women’s shelter is always voluntary. Every women can decide for herself how long she wants to stay. 

What should affected women bring with them to a women’s shelter?

Aside from the children’s school materials and toys, all personal documents are highly important. If possible, passports and IDs – also those of the children —, residential and work permits, marriage and birth certificates, health insurance cards, necessary medication, and the children’s vaccination records should be brought along.

Finding Women’s Shelters and Counselling Centres