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Campaign: Stop! Domestic violence

Campaign: Stop! Domestic violence
When people live close together conflicts can arise. Reports of domestic violence on an almost daily basis might lead us to believe that violence in the home has increased. In actual fact, it has always existed within families. Thanks to institutions such as women's refuges and advice centres, the public is now more aware of this issue. For example, violence is no longer an internal family problem, instead it affects everyone. Those who engage in violence are liable to prosecution. The police will intervene if called. Outsiders are, therefore, also obliged to inform the police if they know about violence in order to protect the victim and bring the perpetrators to justice. 
Domestic violence includes:
  • Emotional violence
  • Physical violence
  • Sexual violence
  • Economic violence
The following are punishable offences:
  • Beating
  • Locking up
  • Verbal abuse, threats, threats with weapons
  • Using weapons
  • Sexual harassment, rape
Domestic violence, however, begins even earlier on with malicious acts:
  • Neglect
  • Withholding money
  • Bullying
  • Unreasonable controlling
  • Isolation and prohibiting human contact

Continue to put up with it – or resist?
After years of oppression, vilification and violence many people are past defending themselves. They will have lost their self-confidence a long time ago and may even believe that it is their fault that they are in that situation.

There are, however, also obvious reasons why women in particular remain in violent relationships: financial dependency, responsibility to children or loss of residence permits. What these people need is someone to show them understanding and support.

Nothing can justify violence. Every individual deserves to be loved and respected. The law is clearly on the side of victims in this regard. They should use the rights to which they are entitled as a Swiss citizen and seek help.
Protection against domestic violence:
  •  Call the police immediately if you are being threatened.
  • Report offences to the police.
  • Contact a free advice centre. For an overview visit and .
  • Get a protection order issued by the civil court (overview of all courts at The court allocates apartments, awards custody of the children and determines the man's alimony obligation.
  • Find someone you can trust and whom you can call for help in an emergency.
  • Keep personal items such as your ID, bank details, residence permit etc. in a safe place.
  • Devise an emergency plan and make arrangements with the children.
  • Carefully plan your departure beforehand.
  • Always have an emergency bag packed and arrange in advance where to go.
Remain powerless - or take responsibility?
Violent people are often controlled by compulsions and try to suppress negative emotions such as aggression, powerlessness and fear.

In doing so they usually blame their anger on the situation or on others and refuse to take responsibility for their own deeds and actions. There is no excuse for violence, especially not in the family. There is no shame in having problems. However, help should be sought before it is too late.
What you can do as the perpetrator:
  • Contact an advice centre for violent men.
  • Speak to people you are close to about your feelings and problems.
  • Learn how others handle pressurised situations and anger.
  • Think about how to react next time in a similar situation.
  • Step back at the first sign of stress and conflict.
  • Leave the house when you realise "it" has reached that point again.
  • Take a walk or talk to friends.
  • Seek help from a doctor, psychologist or advice centre.
  • Perhaps talk to a confidant at work about your problem with violence.
Campaign: Stop! Domestic violence
Intervening in an internal family argument takes a lot of courage. Many people are also afraid of getting caught up in the cycle of violence themselves.

It is important to react early to protect the victim. No one is expected to put themselves in physical danger and act directly. Calling the police in good time may save lives!
What to do as an outsider:
  • Call the police in an emergency.
  • Do not put yourself in danger.
  • Talk to the victim.
  • Show understanding and compassion.
  • Take what the victim says seriously.
  • Make it clear that it is not his or her personal problem, but rather a widespread problem.
  • Refer him or her to the Swiss Victim Protection Law (Opferschutzgesetz).
  • Offer personal help and a possible refuge.
  • Be patient if the offer of help is not taken up immediately.
  • Gather information about help available and give it to the victim.
  • Stick to your own limits and do not consider yourself the problem solver.
  • Speak to the violent person about his or her behaviour without being judgemental and refer to help available.

The brochure is available in the following languages:
deutsch: «Stopp! Häusliche Gewalt»
français: «Stop! Violence domestique«
italiano: «Basta! Violenza domestica»
english: «Stop! Domestic violence»
espagñol: «¡Alto! – Violencia doméstica»
portugués: «BASTA! – Violência Doméstica»

Created: 22.11.2010 | Changed: 21.08.2015