Forced marriage; counseling
Victims of forced marriage can seek counseling.
Under German law and the German system of values, marriage is based on the free will of both spouses; it is thus an expression of the free development of the personality, which is protected by Article 2 (1) in conjunction with Article 1 of the Basic Law. V. m. Article 1 of the Basic Law.
In some patriarchal family structures, on the other hand, it is primarily girls and young women, but also young men, who are married off against their will to partners - mostly strangers. Forced marriages often take place abroad, e.g. during a vacation at home, but sometimes also in Germany.
Forced marriage is prohibited in almost all countries of the world. In Germany, there has been an independent criminal offense of "forced marriage" since July 1, 2011. The person who coerces another person to enter into a marriage is punished with a prison sentence of between 6 months and 5 years. The perpetrators of a forced marriage are usually the parents or other family members. The victim of a forced marriage is of course not liable to prosecution.
Special counseling and protection services for girls and women who are threatened by or affected by forced marriage are offered by the specialized counseling centers of jadwiGa under the auspices of the Ökumenische gGmbH "Stop dem Frauenhandel", Solwodi Bayern e.V. as well as IMMA e. V.
The anonymous shelter "Scheherazade hilft" for young women between the ages of 18 and 21 can be reached at the toll-free number 0800/41 51 616. Those affected can also get advice online at www.jadwiga-online.de and www.imma.de.
Since March 2013, there has been a nationwide help hotline for violence against women, which can be reached free of charge 24 hours a day at 08000 116 016.
They are victims of forced marriage or are at risk of forced marriage.
Contact a counseling center or the youth welfare office. There you will receive psychological support and information about your legal options.
In emergencies or if you are acutely threatened by violence, contact the police.
If you were forced to marry outside Germany and prevented from returning to Germany, you may be able to claim your own right of return. You must apply for a residence permit within three months of the cessation of the coercion, but no later than five years after leaving the country. In this case, you can also obtain the residence permit if you are unable to secure your own livelihood in Germany.
If, as a victim of forced marriage, you have already lived in Germany for at least eight years and attended school for at least six years, your residence permit, which is still valid, will not expire during a stay abroad until three months after the situation of coercion has ceased, or at the latest after ten years of absence from Germany.
If you wish to have a marriage annulled that was concluded under duress, contact the family court in whose district you and your husband or wife have your habitual residence. The application period for annulment of marriage has been extended from one to three years after the marriage in the case of forced marriages.
Links to more information
Responsible for editing: Bayerisches Staatsministerium für Familie, Arbeit und Soziales
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