The Violence Protection Act

Whoever hits has to go.

The Violence Protection Act (GewSchG) became law on 01.01.2002 in Germany. Since that date domestic violence is no longer a private matter.

There is

  • Police protection in the form of eviction and the possibility to forbid the return of the offender: In case of the threat of or the exertion of domestic violence the police can evict the offender from the joint home and forbid him/her to return for up to ten days (depending on the measure of danger forecast). 
  • Protection from violence through civil right protective measures: Women that are threatened by or affected by domestic violence can apply for the protective measures at the corresponding court, either through a lawyer or by themselves. These can forbid an offender to contact the victim, to be in the vicinity of the home or near certain other places. 
  • Protection from violence through the allocation of the joint home: Women that arethreatened by or affected by domestic violence can apply for the allocation of the joint home. Regularly this leads to the allocation of the joint home within a short period of time. That means: The offender must leave! The allocation of the joint home is only a temporary measure. Usually this is for six months. 

 

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Background

At the end of the 1990s, the Federal Government had initiated an "Action Plan to Combat Violence against Women", thus paving the way for the implementation of the Act on the Protection of Violence, which entered into force on 1st January 2002. The measures to implement the action plan should provide greater protection and a vigorous life perspective for women and children in violent relations.

The Act on the Protection against Violence also takes account of the basic right to physical integrity, which is set forth in the Basic Law, also with regard to the private living environment. This is a demand made by the German women's movement in the 1960s.

The concrete aim of the Act on the Protection of Violence is to defend victims of domestic violence by means of effective, fast and effectively enforceable civil protection arrangements against violence, threats and harassment. The nationwide action plan to combat violence against women also includes prevention, cooperation between governmental and non-governmental aid agencies, nationwide networking of aid offerings, measures for perpetrators, public awareness campaigns and international cooperation.

The Round Table Kleve dedicated the first specialist conference in October 2003 to the topic: "Violence at home - and no end in sight?" and did an inventory after two years the Law on the Protection of Violence was effective.