Domestic violence is a widespread, gender-specific form of violence. Depending on the definition used, domestic violence manifests itself not only in physical assaults, but also in more subtle forms of violence. Research in the fields of sociology and social psychology distinguishes between physical violence, sexual violence, psychological violence and socially interactive violence. A 2014 study by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights on the prevalence of domestic violence in EU states surveyed 42,000 women. It concluded that one in three women in the EU had been a victim of sexual or physical violence since the age of 15.
In Esslingen's partner city of Maladzyechna there was no standardised procedure and there were no support structures for anyone involved in the process of domestic violence (women, children or men). No figures were kept. The Belarusian side therefore wished to familiarise themselves with the intervention process and the support structures in place in Esslingen. The project set out to focus not only on combating domestic violence, but also on prevention.
Witnessing domestic violence, which is usually directed against the mother, can have serious and lasting effects on children's development. It can lead to significant impairments in their physical, cognitive, emotional and social development. Increased and rigorous protection of children against violence is therefore key and essential for reducing violence in gender relations in the long term, and ending the transmission of violence from one generation to the next.