Since early in our club history, Frauen helfen Frauen e.V. (FHF) has been the designated charity of the IWC Stuttgart and each year we are proud to be able to donate several thousand euros to help make the lives of the women and children in their women’s shelter a little better than it would otherwise be.
In March of 2016, we were fortunate to have a visit from FHF social workers Andea Bosch and Guilia Scheurer, who gave club members a presentation about their organization and exactly what our donations are used for.
ABOUT FRAUEN HELFEN FRAUEN
Frauen helfen Frauen Stuttgart e.V. is a non-profit group dedicated to protecting women and children from domestic violence in the greater Stuttgart area. They offer three distinct but related services with counseling and advice through BIF (Beratung & Information für Frauen), assistance with crisis and intervention situations through FIS (FrauenInterventionsstelle), and the Frauenhaus itself.
The FHF Frauenhaus, or women’s shelter, was founded in 1983 and is the largest of its kind in Baden Württemberg with places for 40 women and children. Approximately 40,000 women and children seek refuge in similar shelters across the country each year. FHF alone receives several inquiries each week about available spaces.
Frauen helfen Frauen Stuttgart is a non-profit group that is partially funded though the city of Stuttgart and the state of Baden Württemberg. They are required to come up with 30% of their own operating budget each year, which mostly comes from donations and fundraising. Some of that 30% is also made up from fines paid by men who have gone through the court system for violence against women.
Donations can be spent as needed by FHF in any of its three divisions or earmarked for specific use.
LIFE AT THE FRAUENHAUS
Places at the Frauenhaus are reserved for women over the age of 18 and their children who are suffering from physical, mental, or sexual violence at the hands of a partner or spouse. The average stay is 100 days. Each woman or family who comes to stay has their own private room with a shared bathroom and kitchen space.
The 10 professional social workers at the shelter offer support, counseling, therapies, and group activities. The goal is to foster independence and help the women make the transition to a new life, if that is what they decide to do. The location of the Frauenhaus is secret to keep the women and children safe from further violence.
After their time in the shelter, about 30% of women return to their partners (although many will come back to the shelter later) and approximately 50% start a new life in their own flat. Some also go to other shelters or group homes for single mothers.
WHAT ARE IWCS DONATIONS USED FOR AT THE FRAUENHAUS?
Donations from the IWCS are earmarked for use in the shelter only.
Because the amount we donate to FHF can vary from year to year, our funds are not used in the general budget. Instead, they use our donation for variable and emergency expenses.
In 2015, the €5000 we donated to FHF was used for:
- Passport renewals and travel to foreign embassies
- Personal travel expenses, for example for a family funeral
- Translation of official documents
- Emergency money for newcomers
- Medical treatment copays or eyeglasses
- A classical music concert at the Liederhalle and a Holiday on Ice show for the children
- Seasonal celebrations such as Easter, summer, and Christmas parties
Additionally, every year in August they take the women and children on a summer holiday to Lake Constance. They travel by train to a small hotel a few kilometers from the lake and spend a few days swimming, crafting, playing, relaxing and taking day trip. They usually take a boat ride to Insel Mainau and visit a petting zoo. It is very often the first proper holiday many of them have ever had and helps with their mood and confidence. Your generous donations at our 2015 Annual Charity Event helped support this holiday last year.
PLANS FOR 2016 DONATIONS FROM IWCS
In addition to similar expenses like the ones from 2015, FHF has said they plan to use some of our 2016 donation money for a kind the art therapy known as “Tonfeld” where a trained therapist uses clay to help women and children express emotions and uncover trauma. Until now, they have used it mostly for children, but this year they hope to offer it more to the women too. We are proud to support this therapy for the residents of the Frauenhaus.
MORE ABOUT OTHER FHF SERVICES
Women usually find out about the shelter through BIF or FIS, often in conjunction with the police. Although German domestic violence laws were strengthened in 2002, very often there is no prosecution because women are scared, have no real evidence, or just want to forget rather than go through the long court process.
The counseling center (BIF) is located in Stuttgart-Süd and offers free counseling to women in difficult situations such as domestic violence, divorce, or stalking. Their hotline is open daily for two hours and they are also available via email or by appointment.
The crisis center (FIS) is called upon when the police get involved in a domestic dispute. The law in Germany allows the police to send the husband away temporarily in case of violence and takes his house keys. FIS will counsel women about their next step during this critical time.
HELP US HELP THE FRAUENHAUS
First and foremost, we welcome everyone as guests at our main fundraiser, the IWCS Annual Charity Event, taking place this year on April 30th. If you cannot attend but would still like to add your donation to ours, please consider donating online via our crowdfunding page at Betterplace.
If you have any additional questions about our work with FHF, please contact us using the form below. And looking forward to the big party with all of you on April 30th!
Photos courtesy of Frauen helfen Frauen
If you or someone you know could benefit from the free counseling offered by Frauen helfen Frauen, the number to the hotline is
(0711) 649 45 50
and it is staffed from 13:00 – 15:00 on Mondays and Wednesday and from 09:30 – 11:30 on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.