Displaced women have fled from their home countries to Germany. Many of them have experienced violence in their home countries or while fleeing. But they experience gender-specific violence in Germany as well: in shelters, in families and relationships. In public spaces, they are also in danger of experiencing racist attacks.
Many displaced women live in refugee shelters, where the living conditions often nurture violence: a lack of privacy, rooms and hygienic facilities that cannot be locked – all of this is burdensome, just as the lack of a concept for protection against violence, the lack of a complaint management system, the structural imbalance in power between staff and inhabitants, or the lack of information regarding rights and support services in cases of violence.
Even once they have moved out of a shelter, some displaced women still suffer from violence, for example, in relationships or families. Foreigner law regulations at times impede the protection against further violence as well as the separation from the violent partner. There is, for example, a three-year term during which a marriage needs to exist until an independent right of residence becomes effective. There is also the case that the residential title can be tied to the partner during the asylum procedure.
Refugee women who are affected by violence rely on the possibilities for protection and assistance by women’s shelters and specialised counselling centres. But not all refugee women who are affected by violence have access to protection and support when they experience violence. This is because there are strict guidelines on the funding of protective measures in women’s shelters, but also because of language barriers due to a lack of interpreters, or because of a lack of adequate service offers.
FHK gathers practical experiences in the work on protecting refugee women against violence, calls attention to deficits, and realises projects to improve the protection of refugee women against violence.