Berlin / Strasbourg (dpa) - daycare centers and schools closed, parents and children at home all day, nerves blank - the exit restrictions in the corona crisis are increasing the fear of domestic violence.

Reports from various countries have already shown that children and women are currently at greater risk of abuse within their own four walls, said the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Marija Pejčinović Burić, the German Press Agency. In addition to the risk of violence, the crisis could also hit women economically and threaten their financial independence. German experts are also alarmed, the federal and state governments want to take countermeasures.

Reports from France, for example, showed that many women could not call 911 because of the restrictions, Pejčinović Burić said. Help phone numbers were four times fewer calls than normal. For this, instant messages on the Internet to aid organizations across Europe would have increased. This could mean that perpetrators prevent their victims from seeking help over the phone. In Denmark, it has been observed that the number of women seeking refuge in a women's shelter has increased. The Council of Europe monitors human rights in 47 Member States - in addition to the EU countries, such as Switzerland, Russia, Turkey, Ukraine or Azerbaijan.

Experts are also alarmed in Germany. "Unfortunately, we have to expect the worst," said Jörg Ziercke, Federal President of the victim protection organization Weißer Ring. "The corona crisis is forcing people to stay in the family, and there are also stress factors such as financial worries and uncertainty about the future." The victim helpers would know the problem of holidays like Christmas, said Ziercke. “When people are at home for days, the number of cases increases. The blocking of contact because of Corona lasts much longer than Christmas, the stress factors are also greater. »

Politics in the federal and state governments have the problem on the screen. Federal Minister for Women Franziska Giffey (SPD) has agreed measures with the equality and women ministers of the federal states - for example, to keep the help phone against violence against women (08000 116 016) and for pregnant women in need (0800 40 40 020) running. Advice for pregnant women who are considering abortion should also be available online or on the phone. If women's shelters are overcrowded, the local authorities should check whether vacant hotels and apartments can be rented.

Experts warn that the exit restrictions can also be dangerous for children. Because where there is already violence, it gets worse, explained the head of the Chair of Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy at Saarland University, Tanja Michael. After the closure of daycare centers and schools and extensive bans on contacts due to the corona pandemic, families were among themselves.

"The perpetrators now have much more access to the children and the children have fewer opportunities to send out signals that something is wrong," said the professor. In addition, the perpetrators in the current situation are probably "even worse than usual". There are studies from Wuhan in China, where the corona virus was rampant, that women organizations there had registered three times as many victims of domestic violence in the quarantine period. In addition, the police received twice as many emergency calls from women.

The Federal Government's Abuse Officer, Johannes-Wilhelm Rörig, told RBB-Inforadio: "Anyone who is involved in child protection and fights for the well-being of children is at the moment of greatest concern." The situation of children who are exposed to sexual violence by fathers, brothers or mothers is aggravated «enormously».

The Berlin violence protection outpatient clinic also fears an increase in child abuse. "Social control is not there at the moment - the area where domestic violence against children is otherwise noticeable, i.e. in schools, daycare centers or child minders, has just disappeared," said Saskia Etzold, deputy head of the outpatient clinic. Injuries are less noticed. "We have to assume that domestic violence will increase significantly in the next few weeks." The ambulance belongs to the Berlin Charité. Victims can have their injuries documented there confidentially and free of charge.

Ambulance against violence

White ring on domestic violence