Charité help for victims of domestic violence

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Aid to victims of violence is being expanded

In Berlin there is now a new contact point for victims of domestic and sexual violence. In the Charité's new violence protection clinic, those affected can have their injuries documented without having to report it immediately. As a result, the evidence for later legal proceedings remained secure.

Victim protection to be further strengthened People who have been victims of violence but do not want to report crimes to the police can now get help at the Charité in Berlin. In the new outpatient clinic there, injuries suffered regardless of age and gender can be examined by forensic medicine and legally documented. At the presentation of the new offer on Monday in the Red City Hall, Justice Senator Thomas Heilmann (CDU) expressed his pleasure that the victim protection could be further strengthened with the first Berlin violence protection ambulance. Above all, he hopes that the taboo subject of domestic violence can be brought a little further out of the dark field. Victim protection concerns everyone and never gets rid of them. The new facility started operating on February 17.

Financing not cleared According to the Senator, there were almost 500 cases of ill-treatment of children under protection in Berlin in 2012, almost 15,800 cases of domestic violence and 13,000 investigations. The Senate supports the violence protection ambulance with 150,000 euros per year. The new facility is still affiliated to the Charité Institute of Forensic Medicine in Moabit, but should move into its own area in the Virchow Clinic campus in Wedding within the next two years. The construction costs for this would be estimated at around one and a half to two million euros. The financing has not yet been clarified, however, and the Charité forensic professor Michael Tsokos believes that health insurance companies have a duty to do so. Basically, health policy is required.

Violence pervades all classes In Berlin, it was almost only possible to have injuries caused by violence documented by health care doctors, legal doctor Saskia Etzold explained. These are often under a lot of time pressure and are more specialized in wound care than in legally binding documentation. Forensic medicine could only be activated by the police in the event of particularly serious injuries. The new violence protection outpatient clinic now deals with victims of domestic violence, injuries after violent crime and child abuse. Their medical director, Michael Tsokos, said that violence is pervasive.

Women come to the outpatient clinic most often However, women who have been beaten by their husband and want to have the violence documented without the immediate help of the police come to the facility. In addition, employees of youth welfare offices have introduced children with injuries and men who have been the victims of violent raids have also been examined. This fact is unknown to many people: domestic violence is also directed against men. A study conducted as part of a health study conducted by the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) a few months ago showed that men are affected as often as women. However, male victims of violence are less likely to take advantage of help and keep their suffering out of shame. At the time, psychotherapist Christa Roth-Sackenheim told the dpa news agency: “Overall, the issue of domestic violence is highly taboo. And in men there is an even greater sense of shame, since it is not the male role to be beaten. ”

Victims should not be allowed to take too long. In contrast to the treatment of a family doctor, the new victim support can recognize signs of violence such as finger marks or undressing injuries. After the examination, it is clarified whether further advice is required. Affected persons and their families can be referred to partner institutions such as LARA, Weißer Ring or the Initiative against Violence against Women (BIG) thanks to the cooperation with the Berlin networks against violence. Affected persons are advised to make an appointment in advance at the violence protection outpatient clinic. As the deputy head of the facility, Saskia Etzold, said, help-seekers usually get an appointment on the same day or the next day. The examination itself is free of charge. Advice by telephone is also possible. People who have been victims of violence should not take too long to document it. Because many injuries are no longer visible after one to two weeks. For hematomas or strangulation marks, a period of 72 hours is often sufficient to make the traces of violence invisible. (sb)

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