According to experts, refugees in Bavarian refugee accommodation have not yet been adequately protected against violence. Although there is a protection concept for preventing violence, this is not implemented in practice, said Anna Frölich, a lawyer for migration law, on Thursday at a hearing of experts in the state parliament. Overall, the situation in the facilities shows “considerable deficits” in the protection of human dignity. The experts therefore called for improvements.
Among other things, the experts criticized a lack of counseling and treatment offers for traumatized or mentally stressed people, as well as lockable lockers, rooms and sanitary facilities in the accommodations. The refugees’ lack of privacy could increase the potential for violence and conflict in the facilities.
Concrete statistics on the number of acts of violence in Bavarian refugee accommodation are not known. Only a few such cases were received by the court, said Ulrike Dingebacher, a judge at the Munich district court. However, she suspects that these are just the “tip of the iceberg”.
“It’s difficult for us to deal with the situation,” says former refugee camp resident Sarah Namala, describing her experiences there. At times she was the only woman living with several men in one accommodation. The men there regularly knocked on her door, and she often didn’t leave her room out of fear. “I felt very insecure in that situation,” said Namala. Most of the time she wouldn’t have had anyone there to talk to about it.
Several experts called for a structured procedure on Thursday in order to be able to identify people in refugee accommodation who are particularly in need of protection at an early stage and to be able to treat them according to their needs. These particularly vulnerable groups include, for example, women, children and traumatized or psychologically predisposed people. The staff in the shelters must be trained and made aware, and the range of advice centers must be expanded.
The Bavarian violence protection concept is already being implemented in part, said Johannes Wegschaider, violence protection coordinator at an anchor center in Middle Franconia. Nevertheless, it is “enormously important” that the conditions are improved and the positive approaches are pursued in the long term. “It’s not something that happens overnight.”