All the specialists in the advice centres have studied either psychology, social work or education, and are experienced in working with women and girls in crisis. They attend regular training and professional development and receive internal supervision. This ensures you get high quality counselling.
The counselling session will give you time and space to talk about your situation and you and the counsellor will look for solutions together. You decide for yourself what you want to say. The counsellor will help you understand what your options are. You will not be forced to make any decisions. They will tell you what the next steps are. You can receive counselling by telephone, online, or face to face at the advice centre (please call first to make an appointment). Counselling is free of charge and confidential.
Children always suffer when there is domestic violence, regardless of whether they are directly affected or “just” have to witness it. During the counselling session, you can discuss ways your children can get better support and protection. Children have their own questions, needs and fears. Specialist advice centres can help and support your children in this situation.
If the situation has already escalated, usually it’s too late to calm your partner down. They will often look for tiny things just to pick a fight. Move yourself and your children to safety. Lock yourself in a room and call the police, a neighbour, or a colleague. Try and put some distance between yourself and your angry partner.
There is no excuse for violence – and that includes in your own family or partnership. If someone who has been behaving violently accepts responsibility for their actions and wants to change themselves, they can turn to the following advice centres:
For men – against violence
Hohlstrasse 36, 8004 Zürich
044 242 08 88 / www.mannebuero.ch
Specialist counselling: domestic violence
Counselling for individuals, couples and online
Industriestrasse 3, 8610 Uster
079 741 17 00, www.fbhg.ch
KONFLIKT.GEWALT – CONFLICT.VIOLENCE
Counselling and therapy
078 778 77 80, www.konflikt-gewalt.ch
A police report can help you get protection from violence. The police can arrange protective steps for 14 days (Law on Protection against Violence, LPV). For example, they could order the person behaving violently to leave the house. They could also issue a restraining order or ban the violent person from entering particular streets or areas. If the danger still exists after the fourteen days are up, you can apply to the court to have the protective measures extended for up to 3 months.
If you are not sure whether you should report someone, or if you need help applying for an extension to the protection, you can get advice from a specialist unit:
Zurich cantonal police
Domestic violence unit 044 295 98 60 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Zurich city police
Domestic violence unit 044 411 64 12 | email@example.com
Winterthur city police
Domestic violence unit 052 267 64 69 | firstname.lastname@example.org
If you decide to report someone, you can contact any police station to make the report. Ideally, choose a “Detektivposten” in Zurich, a police station in Winterthur or a cantonal police station in your region.
The prosecutor’s job is to call people who have broken the law to account for their behaviour and prevent repeated offences. The prosecutor works closely with the police units working to combat violence and with therapy centres. During the prosecution process, all victim rights apply to you as a person involved in the process.
The prosecution service can also instruct the perpetrator to attend a programme where they will confront their own behaviour.
If you have a B permit for “Living with husband” and you split up or one partner moves out of the home, your right to remain will be re-examined. If your marriage lasted less than 3 years, or if you cannot fulfil the integration criteria, you may risk losing your right to remain – however, the Foreign Nationals and Integration Act (FNIA) , includes legal provisions to protect victims of domestic violence. These provisions also apply to registered partnerships. Your right to remain should never be a reason for you to accept violence. The advice centres are familiar with legal issues relating to migration, and can put you in touch with a specialist centre or law office if necessary.
It can take a long time for the monthly maintenance payments to be set up. If you have a joint account for your marriage or partnership, withdraw the money you will need for the next three months. Move it to your personal account. If the account is in your own name but your partner has a credit or debit card for it, block their card. If you find yourself in financial difficulties, contact the social services.
If your partner is being forced to leave (LPV), inform the police about your financial situation. They can instruct your partner to leave you with enough money to manage. If this is not possible, get in touch with the advice centre. In some emergencies, they are able to provide temporary financial aid.