Papatya (Germany)


Contact: info@papatya.org or ask for a callback from Papatya at +49(0)30610062

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Papatya offers help and protection to girls and young women of migrant backgrounds who suffer due to cultural and domestic conflicts, and are threatened by their families. For thirty years now, our female only team of Turkish, Kurdish and German social pedagogues and psychologists have helped girls and young women who have experienced ‘honour’-based violence, been forced into marriage and /or been abducted to their parents‘ country of origin. Our crisis shelter Papatya has been a safe haven for over 1,800 girls and young women. Every year, more than 600 victims of violence receive counselling via telephone or through our online counselling service SIBEL and the coordination centre against abduction and forced marriage.

Papatya anonymous crisis and refuge shelter

The anonymous crisis and refuge shelter Papatya has a secret address and take care of up to eight girls 24/7. The crisis shelter is open to girls from 13 to 21 years of age; the intake of minors is covered by § 42 KJHG (Child and Youth Welfare Act).

We take in girls who need a safe and anonymous refuge because they:

  • are put under pressure by their families f.e. by not being allowed to leave the house or go to school
  • are threatened or affected by forced marriage
  • are victims of violence in the name of ‘honour’
  • are pregnant
  • are lesbian
  • suffer from mistreatment and/or sexual violence
  • fear being sent to their country of origin
  • Anybody who in their professional life is confronted with issues like these and seeks information and advice.

The girls may live with us for a transitional period of up to two months, in exceptional cases for even longer. We work closely with youth welfare agencies and other institutions developing with the girls an individual solution for their domestic problems and aid them in developing a new perspective for their lives. This may mean returning to parents or relatives, moving into a home, a shared flat or assisted living, in or – if necessary – outside of Berlin.

SIBEL – Online advice and counselling for girls and young women from ethnic minorities

Girls and young women from ethnic minorities are a difficult to reach target group. To overcome some of the difficulties the virtual counselling line SIBEL was founded in 2007.

Through a high level of security SIBEL guarantees anonymity and maximum safety to the help-seeking person. It is possible to get assistance without disclosure of any personal data.

SIBEL is accessible by mobile phone as well as from any computer at any time and offers its services in German, Turkish, English and French. The counselling line is also advising professionals and confidants of the young women and works in close cooperation with the Berlin based shelter Papatya, which can take in immediately in cases of emergency.

SIBEL supports young women who are confronted with

  • Problems within the family
  • Violence and sexual abuse
  • Honour based violence and forced marriage

Violence and sexual abuse are present in ethnic minorities as well, but to talk about these issues is taboo to a high extent. In families where honour codes are central, girls and young women are controlled a lot and often not allowed to go out on their own. In rural regions or smaller cities counselling centres do not exist or are not familiar with honour based violence.

Even where they are available girls and young women who are confined at home cannot approach them. If they have finished their education at school it may become impossible for them to talk about their problems with people outside the family. Since a lot of these young women are digital natives now, online advice and counselling is within their reach. They can write late at night or very early in the morning and know how to cover up the traces of their actions.

The coordination centre against abduction and forced marriage

The coordination centre against abduction and forced marriage was founded in May 2013. It has grown out of our experience with the secret crisis shelter Papatya and the online counselling service SIBEL where we offer protection and assistance to girls and young women with a migrant background.

Many of the girls and young women who turn to us are afraid that they will be taken to their parents‘ country of origin against their will or that they will be left there if they resist their family’s wedding plans or if it is found out that they have been seeing a boy in secret. Once they are in Turkey, in Iraq, the Lebanon or in another country, usually without their passport or mobile phone, they are helpless and will find it almost impossible to resist marrying a man they don’t love. In a situation like this, help is hard to find. So it is all the more important to prevent an abduction to the parents‘ home country from taking place at all. The girls affected are usually adolescents of a migrant background, almost all are between 14 and 21 years of age and they hold a German or a foreign passport.

The coordination centre against abduction and forced marriage is the first central contact which offers assistance nationwide. It aims to prevent abduction through awareness raising, to offer assistance and coordination of assistance if an abduction has taken place as well as if girls succeeded to come back to Germany. Additionally the centre lobby for a nationwide systematical registration of cases of abduction and to enhance the rights of girls and young women to return.

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