Zöf - Zusammenschluss Österreichischer Frauenhäuser

Women’s shelters

Help in the shelter

Women’s shelters are places of protection for women affected by violence and children in a severe crisis. We offer temporary housing and a safe place where you find peace and can regain strength. We help with coping with your situation and support you with planning your future life.

How can you get to the women’s shelter?

The shelters are accessible 24 hours. You can be admitted at any time, day or night. After a talk on the telephone you get the address of the shelter. For security reasons the addresses of the women’s shelters are not publicized and remain secret.

Who can come to the women’s shelter?

Every woman affected by or threatened with domestic violence can come to us. Her nationality, religion or income are of no importance. They have the right to bring their child/children. It is important that you come to a safe place. Men have no access to the women’s shelters.

Our offers

You can think in peace about what to do without being under pressure. Whether you want to separate from your partner/husband or you want to report to the police or bring charges to court – this is your decision. The staff will support you in many important decisions and is at your side and acts as adviser.

Our offer compríses:

  • Temporary residence for you and your children as long as your individual situation demands the special protection of the women’s shelter.
  • The drawing up of a security plan for you and your children.
  • Accompanying you in the crisis situation.
  • Support for processing of the experience of violence.
  • Competent and qualified counselling in the psycho-social and legal areas.
  • Escorting you to court, the police, or authorities.
  • Legal and psycho-social accompaniment at court hearings in the framework of criminal proceedings.
  • Help with securing means of existence.
  • Plans for the future.
  • Networking with other institutions useful for you.
  • Material help.
  • In case of need care after leaving the shelter.

What should you take with you?

In case of an emergency you do not have to take anything with you. We support you in fetching urgently needed things from your flat. If you have time to prepare, pack a bag with clothes, personal valuables, schoolbag and favorite toys of the children and take the following records:

  • Documents of yourself and the children (birth certificate, marriage certificate, passport, registration card).
  • E-card (medical) of yourself and those of your children.
  • Notification of child support and notification of care for the children.
  • Data on bank account and credit cards.
  • Important medicines, vaccination cards, medical certificates.
  • Contracts (for example rental contract and for mobile phone).

You should keep the keys to your flat so that we can – with police assistance – fetch urgently needed things form the flat.

Life in the women’s shelter

In a shelter women and children live similar to a flat-sharing community. Each family lives in a separate room – according to available space. Kitchen and sanitary facilities are shared. Furthermore there are shared rooms for the community and rooms for children and young people.

You organize your daily life independently and are in charge of the care of your children. If security permits, you can continue to go to work and take your kids to the kindergarten or school.

The living together in the women’s shelter is a great adjustment since you live with many people. You will meet women in a similar situation and living together can be supportive and a relief. Periodical get-togethers of all inhabitants help to organize well living in a community.

Since every woman has individual conditions we cater very individually for your concerns. Periodical talks with your councilor will help in knowing in which way we can best support you.

Furthermore our offer comprises training for various professional groups, public relations for the sensitization of the issue of domestic violence and various events for specialized audiences.

Help for women affected by violence

If you are threatened with or affected by domestic violence: get yourself and your children to safety!

Domestic violence is a great health risk for women and affects all areas of life. Apart from direct physical injuries serious psychological consequences can follow. To be battered by the partner /husband is a terrible experience.

It is important to realize that

  • you are never responsible for the violence acts of your partner/husband;
  • you did not "deserve" the violence;
  • you do not have to keep silent out of shame about your experience;
  • you are not responsible for the violence, but the perpetrator committing the assault.

To leave is not simple - but there are various possibilities to get away from violence! Get information and support!

1. What can you do in an emergency?

2. If you are afraid of your partner and you need a safe residence:

  • Call the emergency number of the nearest women’s shelter.
  • Irrespective of which country you are from, which religion you have or whether you have an income or not – if you are affected by domestic violence, get support in a women’s shelter.
  • You can be admitted with your children in a women’s shelter and also get legal counselling there.
  • Women’s shelters are open 24 hours.

3. If you are not acutely in danger and do not need a place to live but need counselling and information:

You find counselling and support in the Austrian counselling centers for women. In Vienna you can also contact the counselling center of the Association of Vienna’s women shelters.