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A silhouette of a man hitting a woman
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Germany records dip in violence between partners

November 24, 2022

The number of cases of violence among partners has dropped slightly in Germany. The fall in 2021 compares with the previous year, when the COVID-19 pandemic emerged. Figures show women are far more likely to be victims.


Germany's Federal Criminal Police (BKA) on Thursday reported a 3% drop in cases of partner-on-partner violence for 2021 compared with the previous year.

The fall came relative to 2020, the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic when cases reached their highest level to date.

What were the figures?

The BKA report said there were 143,604 victims of partner violence in 2021 compared with 148,031 in 2020.

The report noted that women were far more likely to be the victims, making up 80.3% of the total.

Simple physical assault made up the majority of cases, just under 60%, with more serious assaults representing just over 12%.

About a quarter of cases related to threats, stalking and coercion, while rape and sexual assault made up some 2.5%.

In 0.1% of cases the violence was deadly, although 0.3% of cases related to murder and homicide. In instances where the victim died, there were 109 female victims and 12 male.

Surge in domestic violence during pandemic

Among the other offenses that made up 1.3% of the statistics were forced prostitution and pimping.

What do the figures mean?

BKA President Holger Münch presented the report alongside Interior Minister Nancy Faeser and Family Minister Lisa Paus.

He said the trend had been "continually upwards" in previous years to 2020 and promised to shed light on whether factors such as a lack of reporting might have played a role.

The report also suggested that the COVID-19 pandemic might also have led to a spike in 2020. One German telephone hotline for women suffering violence reported a 5% increase in inquiries during the country's coronavirus lockdowns.

Paus said a national easy-to-access offer of support for victims was needed so that they could be helped.

"Every hour, an average of 13 women suffer intimate partner violence," the family minister said. "Almost every day, a partner or ex-partner tries to kill a woman. Almost every third day, a woman dies at the hands of her current or former partner. The reality is also that many victims of violence are afraid to seek help."

Faeser stressed that violence against women was unacceptable. "Men who commit violence against women, whether psychological or physical, are criminals," she said, adding that they must be pursued "with all severity."

While you're here: Every Tuesday, DW editors round up what is happening in German politics and society. You can sign up herefor the weekly email newsletter Berlin Briefing.

rc/sms (KNA, dpa, AFP)

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