The Federal Minister for Family Affairs looks seriously at the cameras as she is the youngest data On violence in partnerships: “A woman dies about every third day at the hands of her current or former partner. This is the reality,” says Lisa Paus.
And I made it clear from the start that the slight downward trend revealed by the statistics for 2021 could only be a temporary decline. Here is an overview of the new data provided by the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) on Thursday.
The number of victims will decrease slightly in 2021
As evidenced by FBI statistics, the authorities recorded a total of 143,604 victims of violence committed by partners or former partners in 2021. Compared to the first Corona year 2020, the number decreased by three percent. However, the overall trend in recent years has been different: between 2017 and 2021, the number of affected people increased by 3.4 percent.
In general, the BKA data refers to cases where investigations were completed in 2021. The act itself may have been committed earlier – even if, according to the information, the majority were already committed in 2021 (more than 139,000).
However, statistics generally leave open-ended whether perpetrators were punished, what penalties they received, and whether investigations were likely to be stopped. BKA President Holger Münch stresses that we hope to gain insight into this in the future.
What exactly does violence mean?
The term intimate partner violence includes both psychological and physical violence. In 2021, 59.6 percent of cases involved intentional minor physical harm — such as slapping or spitting.
This is followed by cases of threats, stalking and coercion (24.2%), and in third place is serious physical harm (12.2%). Complete homicide or manslaughter is less common: in 2021 the authorities recorded 121 such cases. 109 female and 12 male victims.
Women are more affected
“When men kill women because they are women, it is appropriate and necessary to talk about ‘female killing,'” says Minister of the Interior Weser. According to statistics, 80.3% of those infected are female.
There is also a clear bias among those responsible for the violence: most of them are men (78.8 percent), and most of them are German citizens (65.6 percent). However, the percentage of suspected women has increased slightly in recent years – to 21.2% (2020: 20.6%).
Brightfield vs. Darkfield
Official data only reflects the so-called bright field, i.e. the number of reported cases. According to the police, the number of unreported cases is likely to be much higher. It is estimated that two-thirds of female victims do not go to the police. The BKA also hypothesizes that the coronavirus pandemic may have negative effects on behavior reporting – even if police statistics themselves do not indicate any significant increases due to measures such as lockdowns.
In order to shed more light on the dark field, a representative survey is currently being conducted with the participation of ministries and BKA on experiences of violence that were not reported to the police. The Minister of the Interior appeals to all those affected to contact the police or the appropriate counseling centres.
More business on the Internet
The number of crimes committed online has increased slightly: For example, the percentage of threats to partners or ex-partners online was 6.6 percent – and in 2020 it was 4.8 percent.
Police also attribute this to the law’s effects on combating right-wing extremism and hate crimes. The law, which came into force in 2021, stipulates, among other things, that threats and insults on the Internet must be reported to the BKA by social network providers.
The two federal ministers promised to expand the network of support for affected women and men across the country. Baus says there are currently 350 women’s shelters in Germany. But this is very little. The helpline “Violence against women” is available around the clock for affected women throughout Germany. Director Petra Sucheng reported that the number of calls in the first Corona in 2020 increased by 15 percent. Since then, this higher level has remained constant.
For affected men – nearly 20 per cent – the offer of counseling could still be expanded by comparison. According to Secretary Baus, there is a helpline for men, but it is not available around the clock. That too should change in the future.