The Orange Week campaign aims to highlight violence against women and girls in particular.

Violence is unacceptable under any circumstances. If you are a victim of domestic violence, it is important to know that there are places where help is available. One of them is "Femmes en détresse".

Domestic violence often starts with psychological abuse

Andrée Birnbaum, the head of the organisation "Femmes en détresse" ("Women in distress"), says that this is a slow process that often involves psychological violence. "Belittling someone by saying things like 'you can't even cook, you're not even capable of doing homework with the kids, look at you, you've gained weight, you've gotten too fat, you don't look like good anymore, those dark circles under your eyes'... These may seem like remarks, which hurt a lot, but women don't realise that this is violence."

Ideally, victims of domestic violence should seek help immediately or as soon as they realise that they are a victim of violence. According to Andrée Birnbaum, years can pass before psychological violence leads to physical violence. "At that moment the victims are often already so weakened, they don't trust themselves anymore, they have no self-confidence anymore and then they don't even realise that they are a victim and it is often already much too late."

Birnbaum emphasises that it is very important to file a complaint with the police, and that the officials must take these reports seriously. In addition, any injuries can be identified and documented through the Umedo service of the state laboratory. This is free and confidential and the evidence is kept for 10 years.

Do doctors realise if their patient has been a victim of domestic violence?

The doctor naturally asks what happened. However, victims often feel like they cannot talk about it, or at least not directly. They then say they bumped into something or fell down the stairs.

"If this happens regularly to the same person, then something is not right. In the emergency room, if the staff is aware, they can then react differently. You can try to talk to the victim in private or give them more information about who they can turn to if something happens to them. It is extremely important that healthcare professionals are made aware."

"Femmes en détresse" organises awareness trainings but hopes to work with hospital staff and home-visit doctors more in the future.

"Don't look away" was the call made by the national women's council when Orange Week was launched. A call that is addressed to all of us.

How to respond correctly

"If you suddenly start hearing a lot of screaming at your neighbour's house and you think that a person is in danger, you should call the police. You should not hesitate. It is better to be safe than sorry. Don't look away, but also show that someone is there to listen to them. Do not offer personal advice”, says Birnbaum, "because it is often not received well."

Where can you find help?

If you are a victim of domestic violence, you can submit a report to "Femmes en détresse."

You can find them online at

Another option is the site

The trauma ambulance of the state laboratory can be found through

And of course the police can be reached by dialling 113.