2018-11-19

This week, and with an article covering 9 pages of case stories, interviews and data, the influential German news magazine DER SPIEGEL has tackled the societal problem of domestic violence which is traditionally underreported, both as a crime and as an issue of public concern. Cost calculations, according to EIGE numbers amount as high as 17 billion for Germany and 109 billion for the EU.

As an investigative piece of journalism titled 'Hell at Home' (Die Hölle daheim) the report sheds light on the German dv situation. Criticism is raised against the media tradition (partly also true for law enforcement) of classifying such violence as 'family tragedy' or 'partnership drama'. This is seen to belittle the serious and criminal nature of such acts which result in 147 deaths per annum. In an online follow-up 'My Partner, my Tormentor' (Mein Partner, mein Peiniger) DER SPIEGEL reports a number of 357 deaths. This is not the accurate domestic violence death toll because the Federal Investigation Office (BKA) statistics numbers included also attempts to kill the victims. Be this as it may, for decades, the media have failed to demonstrate the threat to women's (and some men's) life very clearly. Thus, this is a step into the right direction.

In the last year #Metoo has been highlighting assaults and molestation of celebrities and movie stars. This has received a lot of media attention, but the same cannot be said about the fate of 114000 victims of threat (often including threat to kill), stalking, assaults, rapes, deprivation of personal freedom, scalding, choking, attacks with knives and axes which have affected female victims and their families. Each year the numbers have increased which may also result from increased reporting: to further increase reporting of dv is a proclaimed objective of IMPRODOVA research as well as a practice tool development.

by Joachim Kersten