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Monday, March 27, 2023

Germany is currently facing a dire dearth of women’s shelters, a calamitous circumstance that must be addressed with urgency.

Often, women seeking help for domestic violence or fearing for their own children find themselves left on their own in Germany. 400 women’s shelters and shelters are packed, and vacancies are occupied for several hours. SPD leader Esken wants to find a solution to this problem.

In 2022, according to a national study conducted by the news agency Correctiv.lokal, the average waiting time for a place in women’s shelters was 303 days for new residents. When the place was finally vacated, it didn’t even take a few hours before it was occupied again. The review includes data for 2022 collected from 200 women’s shelters in 13 federal states. In total, there are around 400 shelters and women’s shelters in Germany, with a total of 8,100 places.

Under the Council of Europe’s Istanbul Convention, which entered into force on 1 February 2018, Germany is committed to preventing and eradicating violence against women. However, today, “according to this agreement”, for each vacant place in Germany, there are approximately… four to five calls per day from candidates.

In early February, SPD leader Saskia Esken announced the need for empowerment, given the existing gaps in protecting women from violence. To that end, she says, a national fund should be created to safely fund women’s shelters. The aid system will expand according to need – and in future the federal government will also participate in regular funding.

In 2021, in their coalition agreement, the SPD, the Greens and the FDP have already announced an expansion of the demand-driven aid system and the participation of the federal government in regular financing. As of November 2021, according to the Coordination of Women’s Shelters, 6,431 adult women were living there temporarily.

According to Correctiv, the situation was particularly bad last year in Hesse, Schleswig-Holstein and Rhineland-Palatinate. Women’s shelters there were 100% full on average nine out of ten days. “We have about four or five women a day for every available seat. Therefore, we are always full,” quotes the research team Cornelia Wagner-Kokabas from the Bergisch Gladbach women’s shelter.

In 2022, “Correctiv” recorded daily the frequency of filling places on the German site Launched in May 2021, this portal helps women quickly find out which shelters have free places. The site is operated by the Central Information Point for Independent Women’s Shelters (ZIF).

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