Have you migrated to Switzerland and become a victim of domestic violence?
Many victims worry about their residence permit when they separate from their partner, go to a women's shelter, or leave the shared apartment. Cases of domestic violence experienced by migrant women and men can be complex due to residency rights. It is therefore important that you seek counselling at an early stage.
Everyone has the right to counselling and support, regardless of their nationality or residency status.
There are places that offer specialized support:
- The FIZ, which provides counselling for migrant women who are affected by violence or exploitation. They can also advise you with any residency problems or questions you have.
- Frabina, an organization that offers counselling focused on binational couples and families, expats and migrants living in Switzerland. They can support you in different languages.
You can also turn to victim advisory centres for support. They offer their services confidential, free of charge and work with translators, if needed.
What else you need to know:
- In Switzerland, domestic violence is forbidden by law. If you experience physical violence, sexual violence, or other forms of abuse (e.g., threats or stalking), you have the right to be protected and seek counselling. There are many support services that can help you.
- If you decide to separate from your abusive partner, you can do so. There is no obligation to stay in a marriage in Switzerland. We recommend you get support if you want to leave your partner.
- If you do not speak any of the national languages, women’s shelters, victim advisory centres and the police can work with translators.
- Does your partner threaten you with statements such as “If you leave me, you will be deported” or “If you leave me, you will never see your children again”? Don not be intimidated. Get help, you have every right to.
- We recommend you document the incidents of abuse. This can be crucial evidence if you want to file a criminal complaint. Make sure that your partner cannot find them.