Under a women's shelter is understood in Western countries a social institution , the women and their children in cases of domestic violence help, advice and temporary protected accommodation offers. The legal term refers to a home that only physically or mentally abused or ill-treatment immediately threatened women and their children because of a professional offer immediate help by absorbing and consulting provides that only intended for this group and no home is.
Employees of the women's shelters as well as psychologists , lawyers and social workers who cooperate with the women's shelters advise the women seeking refuge. As a rule, women's shelters are run by associations and clubs. In terms of sponsorship, a general distinction is made between autonomous and non- autonomous women’s shelter organizations. However, the autonomy does not refer to the financing: women's shelters are financially supported by public grants or even fully supported. The stay is free of charge for the women and children concerned, depending on the location, or it is billed through social assistance benefits . For security reasons, the addresses of the women's shelters are not published in public directories. Men are generally refused entry.
Women's shelters are not homes, but should enable women to lead a self-determined life. The women decide for themselves (usually within a specified framework) how long they will stay. In addition, democratic structures of coexistence, the most important element of which is the house assembly, are among the principles of women's shelters. However, parts of these initial structures had to be abandoned over the decades due to organizational changes in the women's shelter work. Since the women seeking refuge and their children are mostly in a crisis with their psychological, physical and social effects, the care work was increasingly professionalized, so that elements of classic social work came to the fore. In contrast to traditional social work, women's refuge workers are party to the client's side, which, according to Judith Lewis Herman, is a fundamental requirement for dealing with trauma.
In past centuries, monasteries in Europe were often shelters for women. An example for the non-European area are the two "escape temples" ( Kakekomi-dera ) in Japan , which offered refugee women protection from domestic violence , Tōkei-ji in Kamakura and Mantoku-ji in Ōta .
At the end of the 1960s, the international women's movement first publicly addressed the widespread, but until then mostly secretive violence against women - also in marriage and partnership. In 1971 Erin Pizzey founded a women's center in London , which became the world's first women's refuge because more and more women sought refuge from violent partners. The Women's Aid network was founded in Great Britain in 1974 . In the same year the women's shelters in Edinburgh, Amsterdam, St. Paus (USA, Minnesota) and Sidney opened their doors, Berlin and Cologne followed in 1976, Vienna 1978 and Zurich 1979. These women's shelters often emerged from previously existing crisis centers for raped women or advice centers . The International Tribunal “Violence against Women” in Brussels in 1976, in which 2000 women from 33 countries took part, made a significant contribution to the expansion of the women's refuge movement. They called on the governments to recognize the existence and extent of violence against women as well as the need for protective shelters and to support them financially, but also through effective legal protection for women. The goals of the women's refuge movement are in particular:
- To protect women and their children from violence by their partners in dangerous situations and to support them on their way to a self-determined life;
- by raising awareness of violence against women in public, to demand the right of women and girls to physical integrity and sexual self-determination.
In the 1990s, violence against women also became an issue in Eastern Europe and Latin America , which the United Nations , the World Health Organization and the European Union addressed in the mid-1990s and made it a question of human rights and health security. According to an estimate, there were 1,500 women's shelters and advice centers in Europe in 2004. Studies in the western industrialized countries show that women run the greatest risk of falling victim to violence in their private living space.
First World Conference on Women for Women’s Refuge
From September 8th to 11th, 2008 , the First World Women’s Conference of Women’s Refugee Workers took place in Edmonton , Canada, at which approx. 800 participants from 51 countries gathered and exchanged their experiences and future perspectives. While in South Africa, for example, the need for a care project for the orphans of mothers who died of AIDS during their stay in a women's shelter became apparent, in countries such as Holland and Sweden one is thinking of expanding the offer to women's shelters for special target groups, e.g. B. for very young women, for women with alcohol, drug or medication abuse problems or for women with auto-aggressive behavior.
The Istanbul Convention, adopted by the Council of Europe in May 2011 and signed by 39 states (as of January 2016), obliges the states to a. on measures to protect women from violence, such as advice, information and the provision of shelters in sufficient numbers. The signatory states are thus obliged to provide financial support for the women's shelters. One shelter place per 10,000 inhabitants is considered a sufficient number.
The first women's shelter for beaten women was founded in 1976 in Berlin by women from the autonomous women's movement with funds from the Ministry of Family Affairs. The Berlin project triggered a wave of women's shelters which were granted financial aid on the basis of Section 72 of the Federal Social Welfare Act. In December 1976 the city council in Cologne decided to finance a position for a social worker to look after the women in the women's refuge. In the years that followed, women's shelters were also founded in other German cities. They were mostly projects of the autonomous women's movement.
The subsequently founded women's shelters of the welfare associations and the church associations - called counterhouses by the autonomous women - were from the beginning purely charitable and social-work oriented. The working principles of the Working Group of German Women’s and Children's Shelters , published in 1982, focus on support and stabilization of the family and cooperation with violent men. In addition, they see violence not as a social problem, but as an individual problem for the respective women, which sometimes leads to feelings of guilt and fear of failure among women. With its establishment, a non- feminist offer for women in need should be created. In addition to conceptual differences, non-autonomous and autonomous women's shelters differ in their hierarchical organization and funding. The conceptual rivalry between the two forms of women's shelters was strengthened by the fact that the financially better-funded sponsors of the women's shelters organized by associations managed to take over autonomous women's shelters. In the meantime, autonomous and association women's shelters have converged in their concepts and also work closely together on a political level. According to the Federal Government's Second Women's Refuge Report from 1988, the following offers of assistance are fundamentally indicative of both forms of support:
- Help for abused women and their children through support services to regain mental equilibrium,
- Advice on family and social law matters as well as on mental and physical health,
- educational child care and
- Help with finding accommodation and advice after the women’s refuge.
Since the Protection Against Violence Act came into force in 2002, according to which violent criminals can be expelled from their homes, the need and number of women's shelters has decreased. In 2002 there were around 400 women's shelters in Germany, 153 of which were autonomous. In 2009 there were only a total of 362 women's shelters. Due to the respective funding requirements of the budget regulations of the federal states and municipalities, the women's shelters are now also directly owned by the municipalities or are operated through state grants from associations and clubs. The Berlin Initiative against Violence against Women - BIG is a special approach to recording and coordinating problems of women affected . The working group of the German women's and children's shelters no longer exists. The Frauenhauskoordinierung eV based in Berlin took on the task of networking and represents the interests of a large number of women's shelters in Germany. In 2013 there were 353 women's shelters in Germany; 345 of the houses offered 6,800 places. In order to meet the recommendations of the Council of Europe, Germany would have to have a total of 8,059 women's shelter places.
According to a study published in 2012 on behalf of the Family Ministry, 15,000 women, accompanied by 17,000 children, sought refuge in around 350 women's shelters and 40 shelters in 2011. However, women had to be turned away 9,000 times because the facilities were full. In 2013, 34,000 women and children sought protection in the facilities, and 9,000 women had to be turned away.
In September 2013, the Federal Government presented a report for the first time on the situation of women's shelters and other facilities for women and their children affected by violence. The study commissioned by the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs came to the result, among other things, that three quarters of the women who had sought counseling had their situation improved. Women's shelters provide a wide range of offers, but there are differences between the federal states. So could z. For example, in Brandenburg, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Saxony and Thuringia, only a good half of the women's shelters offer regular offers for the children due to the lack of staff. On the one hand, support institutions for violence against women are available in large numbers, but they have insufficient resources to be able to carry out all these offers regularly, reliably and for all target groups. Women’s need for support after experiencing violence is by no means always met.
According to the key to the Istanbul Convention (Art. 23), which Germany ratified in October 2017 and which came into force in February 2018, there are currently more than 14,600 shelter places for women nationwide. In accordance with the coalition agreement, the Union and the SPD have announced an action program to support women affected by violence and a round table of the federal, state and local governments on the topic to ensure the needs-based expansion and adequate financial security of women's shelters and corresponding advice centers.
In the 1990s, the proportion of migrant women among the residents of women's shelters rose and has since been high in the big cities, especially in Berlin. In the mid to late 1990s, for example, the proportion of migrant women in a Berlin women's shelter was 60 to 80 percent. Nationwide, around 40 percent of the women seeking protection in the 350 women's shelters are migrants (as of 2012). Women from Turkey and Eastern Europe (including Russia ) are more frequently affected by sexual and domestic violence than other groups and are often in a specific situation, as the experience of violence in partnerships and families is associated with experiences of oppression and exclusion in connection with the family of origin and the Society connects. At the beginning of the 1990s, migrant women in Germany questioned the traditional definition of feminism of the German women's shelter movement, in which they saw themselves as insufficiently represented. Gülşen Aktaş reported about experiences of racism among migrant women by residents in German women's shelters and subtly by employees. As a result, greater consideration was given to specific situations of migrant women. In one of the autonomous women's shelters in Berlin, a quota system was then introduced to increase the proportion of migrant women among the employees. In 2001 a women's refuge with an intercultural focus was opened in Berlin . Intercultural competence and intercultural openness in work in women's shelters has been discussed and further developed since the late 1990s. Employees of women's shelters have learned, in addition to their protective function, to convey advice and support in such a way that they correspond to the realities of life for migrant women. Some well-known activists with a migration background also found refuge for a time in a women's shelter, such as Zana Ramadani and Sabatina James .
The first women's shelter in Austria was opened in Vienna on November 1st, 1978 and was immediately overcrowded. The second women's refuge in Vienna , to which a counseling center was connected, followed in February 1980. The first women's shelters in the federal states followed on December 12, 1981 in Graz and on December 16, 1981 in Innsbruck. While the financing of the women's shelters in Vienna was secured by the community from the start, the autonomous initiatives in the federal states had to fight for their financial resources, sometimes with many setbacks, and often had to ask for subsidies from several agencies every year.
In 2015 there were 30 women's shelters in Austria with a total of around 759 places. In order to meet the recommendations of the Council of Europe, 837 places would be required, with Vienna being the only federal state that fulfills the target of one place per 10,000 inhabitants. In 2014, a total of 3257 people (1654 women and 1603 children) were cared for in Austrian women's shelters. 26 of the 30 women's shelters are considered autonomous, of which 15 are networked in the Association of Autonomous Austrian Women's Shelters. Eleven women's shelters are members of the association of Austrian women's shelters .
On May 1, 1997, the First Protection against Violence Act came into force, which in particular created the possibility of a ban on entry and eviction to protect against violence . With its introduction, violence protection centers and the national women's helpline on 0800 555 222 were set up in every federal state. In 2007 the so-called “Stalking Paragraph” (Criminal Law Amendment Act 2006, Federal Law Gazette I No. 56/2006) came into force, a protection against persistent persecution . With the Second Act on Protection against Violence, protection and support for victims were improved on June 1, 2009, as was the Criminal Law Amendment Act 2015. However, the occupancy rate in women's shelters has not changed as a result of the Act on Protection against Violence. One of the reasons for this is seen as the fact that the women often do not feel safe despite the expulsion of the person at risk, which is especially the case with women with a migration background, for example when other relatives or friends of the man live in the same house. Another reason is that some women do not want to go through the police and court for eviction.
Over time, working with children in women's shelters has developed into an independent area after it was established that children, regardless of whether they have experienced violence themselves or had to watch them, can be traumatized and in any case require special help in dealing with the Need experiences. The Association of Autonomous Austrian Women's Shelters has developed quality standards for this purpose and published them in the Handbook Children and Domestic Violence .
In Switzerland , the first emergency shelter for beaten women was set up in Zurich in 1977 . Bern and Geneva followed in 1980, Basel 1981, St. Gallen 1982, Brugg 1983, Lucerne and Winterthur 1984. The Swiss women's shelters were initially run without public support , but exclusively by autonomous women's groups. They were financed privately through donations. In 2012, 2067 women and children sought refuge in a women's refuge. However, half had to be rejected for reasons of space. In 2014 there were 18 women's shelters with a total of 278 places. In order to comply with the recommendations of the Council of Europe, Switzerland would need 774 places. The women's shelters are united in the umbrella organization of women's shelters in Switzerland and Liechtenstein .
In Great Britain, the first women 's refuge for abused women, the Chiswick Women's Refuge (today: Refuge), happened by chance from a women's district center in West London, which Erin Pizzey founded in 1971 as a meeting place to provide welfare bureaucracy to women who were receiving welfare, for example support. After a woman who had fled domestic violence found refuge there, more and more beaten women came and stayed permanently. Similar developments took place across the country, where women established autonomous meeting places. By the time Pizzey's book on abuse in the family was published in 1974, 20 women's shelters and initiatives had sprung up in Great Britain that were in the process of establishing an umbrella organization, the National Federation of Aid to Battered Women (now: Women's Aid).
Erin Pizzey made public in her books what the women had experienced in terms of violence and mistreatment and reported about it. In 1982 she noted that women who sought refuge in Chiswick Women's Refuge were just as violent as the partners who had left them. The psychotherapist Jochen Peichl, who examined Pizzey's case descriptions, came to the conclusion in his book Destructive Couple Relationships (2008) that these were individual cases of women with severe childhood traumatization that cannot be generalized. In contrast to the more politically left-wing and feminist network National Federation of Aid to Battered Women , which developed from the women's movement and was founded in 1974, Pizzey advocated a therapeutic approach that included the behavior of women. She also opposed the linking of the women's aid movement with feminist women's rights movements and against the establishment of a national feminist organization. The National Federation of Aid to Battered Women criticized Pizzey by blaming the victims, it could be concluded that violence against women is a mistake of imperfect women.
These disputes drew public attention to the problem of domestic violence and led to the development of different models for women's shelters. By the late 1990s, 164 women's shelters had been established in Great Britain that could accommodate a total of 20,000 women and children.
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