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Call for more therapy for refugees in Germany

June 29, 2016

A German victim protection organization has called for more therapy to help traumatized refugees. The group has pointed to a rise in attacks against refugee shelters as one of the reasons for the increase is needed.

A refugee in a German shelter covers her face
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/F. Rumpenhorst

In light of the rising attacks against refugee shelters in Germany, one organization said there is a need for more therapy and trauma specialists for refugees, according to a German newspaper report on Wednesday.

"When refugees who come from war zones are attacked again, it is the duty of the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees to ensure psychotherapeutic care," Weißer Ring national chairwoman Roswitha Müller-Piepenkötter told the daily "Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung."

She added that this care is too infrequently provided.

Map refugee shelter attacks Germany

There is a shortage of trained trauma therapists in Germany, Müller-Piepenkötter said, citing high requirements for entry into medical and psychotherapists' professional associations as well as a lack of training opportunities.

Müller-Piepenkötter said the German government has underestimated the therapy needs refugees face. "There is this impression that the need is not so high," she said, adding that other victims of crime and violence also lack sufficient therapy options.

On Tuesday, Germany's domestic intelligence service (BfV) released a report showing a 42 percent increase in violent attacks by far-right extremists in 2015.

Asylum-seekers were often the targets of this violence, the report showed. In 2015, there were 894 crimes committed against refugee shelters - five times as many as were committed in the previous year.

rs/sms (AFP, epd, KNA)