Women are way more likely to suffer violence than men. For many years the city of Vienna has been running an emergency helpline (Frauennotruf) for women to call in times of crisis. Right before Christmas they started a new campaign against legitimizing violence against women: “Lass das nicht so stehen”.
Emergency helpline for women
Women and girls from the age of 14 can call the emergency number, if they suffer from physical or psychological violence. The service is simple and for free. Even if the act(s) of violence happened years ago, victims can report this/these incident(s). Advice is given by experienced counselors either on the phone, via mail or personally (after making an appointment).
Many women are afraid to come forward about experiencing violence. Some fear they fear the perpetrator(s) others are ashamed of what happened to them. Therefore, the services of the helpline are completely confidential. If requested, counseling can be given anonymously. The emergency number is open 24/7, all days of the year.
Lawyers, psychologists and social workers offer counseling to whoever seeks help at the Frauennotruf. Even translators can be requested. Help is offered immediately (if the victim is affected directly by violence) and on the long term by counseling. Professional counseling concerning legal, social and psychological questions help victims to overcome their misery.
In 2015 Frauennotruf launched the initiative “civil courage – but save!”. This campaign raised awareness of the importance of showing civil courage when confronted with violence against women. When witnessing violence against women (either in public or in private), one should always step in – of course just as long as it is save. Several workshops and brochures informed about the ways of showing civil courage.
Recently, the emergency helpline launched another campaign called “Lass das nicht so stehen”. It fights legitimization and trivialization of violence against women. Violence is a severe problem that needs to be taken care of.
Vienna is a pioneer when it comes to fighting gendered violence. Still there is a lot to be done; more than 9.500 victims seeking counseling in 2017 show, how severe the problem is. The fight against violence is not yet over. But the emergeny helpline of Frauennotruf plays an important part in fighting for justice.