North Rhine-Westphalia: Two new men's shelters with eight places from January 2022 on
3. January 2022
In North Rhine-Westphalia, four additional places have been available in a further shelter apartment for men affected by domestic violence since January 1, 2022. In addition, the commissioning of another men’s shelter apartment with another four places is planned for mid-January in Warendorf.
The apartment currently in operation is run by the Men’s Counseling Center Rheydt and is located in a former nunnery in the greater Aachen area. The exact address is anonymous in order to ensure an active protective effect for the men temporarily housed there. If necessary, their children can also live there with them. WDR reported on the opening with Minister Ina Scharrenbach from the Ministry of Home Affairs, Municipal Affairs, Building and Equality (MHKBG).
The Federal Coordination Office for the Protection of Male Victims of Violence (BFKM) welcomes the necessary and courageous step towards more and improved protection of men against violence. The NRW Ministry of Social Affairs is taking this step together with the SKM Bundesverband e.V. as the responsible organization. The four men’s shelters in the state of north Rhine-Westphalia will be funded as part of a three-year model project. One million euros alone have been earmarked for this in 2022. In the WDR media report, Minister for Equal Opportunities Ina Scharrenbach also announces that the men’s violence protection projects in NRW will be transferred to regular funding.
On the occasion of the opening, we asked the minister three questions on the topic of protecting men from violence.
Mrs. Scharrenbach, there are currently 630 acute care places for women in NRW and now also 16 for men. How do you estimate the need for the coming years in NRW?
Ina Scharrenbach: The state government in North Rhine-Westphalia, which has been in office since 2017, has for the first time taken a look at the topic area of “violence against men”. In recent years, the infrastructure has been continuously built up. Since 2020, the MHKBG has been promoting the “Violence against Men Help Line” and thus for the first time also offers immediate assistance in crisis situations. Since summer 2021, online counselling has also been available. The first eight shelters for men affected by violence were launched in summer 2021 as part of a model project under the heading “Freiraum Düsseldorf” and “Freiraum Köln”. Now another eight shelters will be added in the greater Aachen area and the greater Münster area (four each). Together with the project executing agency, we are gathering experience on the use and demand of this offer. There existied a waiting list of men for the first eight shelters. The first results encourage the state government in its plan to further expand the offer in the coming years and thus to meet the demand.
Since 2016, the federal state of Saxony has been a pioneer in the field of men’s violence protection centres, which have even received regular funding since 2021. Bavaria and North Rhine-Westphalia followed suit, and the coarse-meshed network is now becoming denser step by step. What need for action do you see for the field of male violence protection, for which the federal states are always responsible separately, beyond the individual state borders?
Ina Scharrenbach: The example of the “Violence against Men Help Line”, which is now a cooperation model of the states of North Rhine-Westphalia, Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg, shows that cross-state cooperation in the interest of those affected by violence makes sense and works. All federal states are cordially invited to participate in the help line. Cooperation also applies to the violence shelters, should a remote accommodation of individual men affected by violence be advantageous in individual cases.
What motivates you to stand up for the field of work?
Ina Scharrenbach: Anyone who is threatened or affected by violence cannot lead a free and self-determined life. Ensuring protection against violence is therefore also an indispensable prerequisite for gender equality and equal rights for women and men. The prevention of violence and protection against violence is thus one of the most important tasks of policymakers. The fact that violence against men exists must come out of the social taboo zone. If we succeed in doing this through a variety of efforts, we will help those affected all the more. Don’t look away – look!
SKM head Stephan Buttgereit also gave an interview on the necessity and background of the commitment to male violence protection.
More information on the men’s help line and online counselling for men affected by violence can be found at www.maennerhilfetelefon.de.
* We respect sexual and gender diversity.