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Special protection needs
     
 

It has to be determined in the proceedings whether a victim has special protection needs. This is done by assessing personal characteristics of the victim and the kind and facts of the offence. In particular victims of terrorist acts, human trafficking, sexual crimes or violent relationships have to be taken into account. Children are always rated as having special protection needs. Victims with special protection needs are for example entitled to appropriated rooms provided for the hearing or a video hearing.

 
     
 
 
     
 
Protection against violence

The Protection against Violence Act protects persons who have become victims of violence or stalking. The court can prohibit the offender from contacting and approaching the victim or from entering or staying at certain locations. These restraining orders are intended to protect the victim from further violence. The court can, for example, state the following:

  • not to enter the home of the victim,
  • remaining within a certain distance (determined by the court) from the victim’s home,
  • not being present at locations where the victim spends time on a regular basis,
  • not to contact the victim,
  • not to bring about a meeting.

Protective orders may be issued if the offender:

  • has wilfully caused personal injury or violated upon the victim’s freedom, or
  • threatened to do so, or
  • has intentionally and unlawfully entered the home or the property of the victim, or
  • intentionally subjected the victim to intolerable harassment.

The restraining orders must be requested at the competent family court. The request can be filed at the court registrar of the local court by filling out a form, but also informally in writing or verbally. Forms can be downloaded on the Internet page of the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth (Bundesministerium für Familie, Senioren, Frauen und Jugend). The court can order that the protective order take immediate effect. If the court does not do so, the protective order will have to be served to the offender by the bailiff (Gerichtsvollzieher).
Should the offender violate such an order, he may be fined or imprisoned up to one year. For further information, please refer to www.bmfsfj.de or www.gewaltschutz.info/.

 
     
 
 
     
 
Assignment of the home

Offenders who commit violence against their partner – regardless of whether they are married or not – can be ordered to leave the common home. In order for the home to be assigned to the victim, the following requirements have to be met:

  • Victim and offender maintain a joint household on a permanent basis at the time of the offence.
  • The offender has intentionally caused personal injury to the victim or violated upon the victim’s freedom.

The injured or threatened party has to demand the allocation of the home in writing within 3 month after the offence. After this deadline the claim of the allocation of the home is excluded. 
Stricter requirements apply if violence has only been threatened and not committed. In serious cases the victim will be granted the shared home if, for example, the wellbeing of children living in the household is threatened. In this case, the assignment of the home is also time-limited.

If the abuser is the owner or sole tenant of the home, the victim may be granted use of the home for only six months. If the victim fails to find an alternative place of residence in this period, in certain cases the court may (upon request) extend the period by up to a maximum of six more months.

The victim can apply for a court order for assignment of the home either itself or through a lawyer. It is also possible to seek help from counselling centres for domestic violence or WEISSER RING.