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One woman per hour is victim of domestic violence

November 25, 2019

Rape, coercion or even forced prostitution: More than 114,000 women were abused by their partner or ex-partner in Germany last year, according to new figures released on International Day Against Violence Against Women.

A woman wearing glasses with stop violence against women written on them
Image: picture-alliance/NurPhoto/R. Arroyo Fernandez

At least one woman is physically injured every hour on average at the hands of their partner in Germany, according to new figures released on Monday. In total, more than 114,000 women were victims of domestic violence, threats, stalking or coercion by their partners or ex-partners in 2018. 

Of these victims, 122 were killed that year — one every three days.

German Family Minister Franziska Giffey presented the "alarming figures" to mark International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.

"They show that far too many women continue to be subjected to violence by her partner or ex-partner. More than once an hour, a woman was dangerously injured in 2018," Giffey said. 

"We must ensure that violence against women is recognized as early as possible and that women are helped as quickly as possible. Violence against women concerns us all."

While the willingness to report incidents of abuse has risen, there are still unreported cases that suggest the total number of victims and survivors of domestic violence is higher. 

Read moreEscaping domestic violence in Germany 

Not enough space in shelters

Giffey on Monday said women affected by domestic violence should be entitled access to women's shelters. A main challenge, however, is that there are not enough spots available for those seeking refuge. 

The minister announced that the government will spend €30 million ($33 million) each year over the next four years toward increasing the capacity of women's refuge shelters.

There are currently only 350 women's shelters in Germany. 

Read moreWomen around the world face widespread abuse during childbirth

Toulouse protest against domestic violence
Women in Toulouse, France, march against domestic violence and inequality to mark International Day for the Elimination of Violence against WomenImage: picture-alliance/NurPhoto/A. Pitton

Domestic violence a global issue

Countries around the world are commemorating International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. Men and women took to the streets over the weekend in Europe, including Brussels and Paris, to protest against violence against women. Marches were also held in Istanbul. 

In Italy, 142 women were killed through domestic violence, up 0.7% from the previous year, according to figures released Monday by Italian research institute Eures. Italy's national statistics agency Instat found that 538,000 women were the victims of physical or sexual abuse by their partners in the last five years.

'France's shame'

The French government on Monday unveiled its new measures to tackle domestic violence, including a pledge to seize firearms from abusive spouses, create 1,000 new women's shelters, and better train police. Also, the changes would make it easier for doctors to signal to authorities if a woman is at risk of domestic violence.

Teaching women self defense

Announcing the initiative, French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe decried "collective silence about failures that we have, until today, not wanted to be aware of."

"This silence, or rather these forms of silence, kill," the politician said.

The package, worth millions of euros, aims to reduce the number of women killed by their partners. Goverment says at least 121 women and 28 men have been killed by their current or former partners this year. The country's rate of deadly violence against women is among Europe's highest, which President Emmanuel Macron has called "France's shame."

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stb, dj/ng (dpa, AFP, KNA)