Current situation & demand
According to the German Federal Criminal Police Office’s 2019 analysis of criminality statistics on violence in relationships [“Kriminalstatistische Auswertung zur Partnerschaftsgewalt des BKA 2019], 141,792 people in Germany fell victim to violence at the hands of a current or former partner in 2019. Of these, 114,903 (81.0%) were of the female gender and 26,889 (19.0%) of the male gender (1). The most commonly registered were cases of common assault (proportion of males: ~20.5%), followed by forms of psychological violence such as threats or coercion (m: ~11%), and actual or grievous bodily harm (m: ~30%). Victims of sexual violence are particularly unlikely to be male, accounting for just under two percent in 2019.
Yet these figures are only the cases we know about; those that are reported to the police. The actual figures for violence – and thus the number of cases never brought to the police’s attention – are thought to be significantly higher for both men* and women*.
The figure of more than 26,000 men* in Germany affected by violence is unquestionably significant. Germany currently has nine refuges, offering 29 places, for such men* and their children.
There are state governments, networks, providers and initiatives working to provide men’s* refuges in the states of Berlin, Brandenburg, Hamburg, Hesse, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, and Rhineland-Palatinate.
The Bundesweite Netzwerk für Männergewaltschutz recommends the following measures:
- Those involved in protecting men* against violence have been calling for a comprehensive and representative study on the women*, men* and children in Germany affected by violence for many years. Such a study has been announced multiple times by the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth and must be conducted as soon as possible.
- Men’s* refuges should be established in line with demand based on the size and population of the respective state and on current data relating to men* affected by (domestic and sexual) violence.
- A “facilities initiative on the establishment, refurbishment and equipment of men’s* refuges in Germany”, funded by central government, to support the expansion of the system for helping men* affected by violence.
- Additional funding for men’s* counselling within the project, counselling for children and young people affected in association, violence prevention services, sensitisation, and networking work in men’s* refuges.
The Bundesfach- und Koordinierungsstelle Männergewaltschutz (Federal Coordination Office for the Protection of Male Victims of Violence, BFKM) estimates that there is a current need for up to five refuges per state, depending on the population density and geographical structure.
(1) as a proportion of crimes reported in this context; multiple responses permitted.
* We respect gender and sexual diversity.