Counselling centres for violence against women are specialised counselling institutions for women, emergency call facilities, as well as intervention centres. Women who are affected by violence can contact them to receive counselling on how to protect themselves against violence, on how to cope with violent experiences, on how to claim their rights, and on how to open up perspectives on a life without violence for them and their children.
These services address women who are affected or threatened by physical, sexualised, psychological or economic violence in couple relationships, families, or social relationships, in everyday life, at the workplace, or in other social contexts.
Specialised counselling centres support women with experiences of violence – regardless of their age, sexual orientation, residential or social status, or country of origin. It is also irrelevant when and in which form they have experienced violence. Moreover, relatives and professionals can also turn to specialised counselling centres. They specifically address migrant women with experiences of violence as well, even if only few counselling centres can provide support in languages other than German.
Counselling is free of charge and can take place on the phone or online. If desired, it can also be anonymous. In most cases, it is possible without prior registration. The services offered by specialised counselling centres involve both individual and group counselling. Counselling centres employ qualified counsellors, who are mostly trained as social pedagogues (often with additional qualifications) and as psychologists and therapists. The staff members are obliged to confidentiality.
The counselling services comprise:
Federal Government Report on the Situation of Women’s Shelters, Counselling Centres, and Other Support Services for Women Affected by Violence and Their Children, published by the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth, Berlin 2012 (PDF, in German).