Location: Preparation: Where to go when you leave | Language: en

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Where to go when you leave?


Friends / relatives

There is little point in fleeing to friends or relatives if the abuser knows their addresses.

New apartment / residence

If it is possible for you to lease an apartment/home of your own without your husband’s knowledge, you’ll need attentive neighbours or friends who’ll support you there during a very dangerous time. However, you will be primarily dependent on yourself.
Seek the support of a specialised counselling center.

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Women’s shelter (Frauenhaus)

Women’s shelters offer protected, provisional housing for women of all nationalities with or without children.
You can reach them day or night.
There are approximately 400 women’s shelters in Germany - in other words, not every town has one.

In general, you and your children will be given one room (without board).

A women’s shelter offers comprehensive counselling and support. If necessary, they can provide someone to accompany you to the authorities. There are often special offers for children.


Accommodation is free of charge at some women’s shelters. However, most require a nominal fee per person per day. In certain cases, the social welfare office will take over the costs.


Women who are addicted to drugs, alcohol and medication, as well as those who are mentally ill, will not be admitted. Only a few women’s shelters are equipped to accommodate people with handicaps.

Many women’s shelters only admit boys up to a certain age. However, they will help you find accommodation for your older boys. At some locations, women with older sons can move into a safe house/apartment (Zufluchtswohnung).

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Safe houses/apartments (Zufluchtswohnungen)

These are shared or individual living quarters for the protection of women and children threatened by violence. Women pay the rent themselves. The social welfare office pays the rent for women on low incomes.

Female staff offer comprehensive counselling and support. However, safe houses/ apartments cannot offer the same extent of protection found at women’s shelters. Some of the addresses are not anonymous. Some have an age limit for male children.

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Order to vacate (Wegweisung)

The police can force the abuser to leave the residence. The German Protection against Violence Law (Gewaltschutzgesetz) allows any victim of domestic violence to evict an abuser from their premises by court order (see the chapter »Protection Laws« »Gewaltschutz«). The police may also enforce an eviction until a court order can be carried out.

Nevertheless, in dangerous situations you and your children should leave your residence and move to a safer accommodation (such as a women’s shelter).

The following factors indicate that an abuser is particularly dangerous: possession of firearms, threats of suicide or murder, alcohol and drug consumption, pathological jealousy.

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