Violence protection monitoring in refugee accommodation: dissemination, evaluation and stabilisation

Consensus and Conflict Department

Project head: Dr. Friederike RömerProf. Dr. Sabrina Zajak

Project team members: Sifka Etlar Frederiksen Ines-Maria JeskeDr. Maryam Rutner

Running time January 2023 until December 2024
Status Current project

The current refugee movement in the wake of the war in Ukraine makes it clear once again that the accommodation of refugees remains a central socio-political issue. The core task of shelters is the protection of refugees, but systematic knowledge about violence protection is patchy. Continuous monitoring and a deeper understanding of the mechanisms and challenges of violence protection are key components of quality assurance and the implementation of minimum standards. This is where this project comes in and builds on previous projects in which an online-based modular violence protection tool was developed in participatory consultation processes with civil society organisations, authorities and operators as well as evaluations with staff and residents. The tool was then adapted to the specific framework conditions of seven federal states and transferred into practice. This digital tool is unique in Germany (but also with regard to other European countries). This project now aims to deepen the existing cooperation with the federal states, to advance the data collection in the individual shelters as well as to evaluate the data thus obtained and to present a concept for the nationwide sustainable continuation of data use. On this basis, quantifying, comparative statements on the implementation of protection against violence in German shelters are possible.


What is the DeZIM Violence Protection Monitor and who operates it?
The DeZIM Violence Protection Monitor is a digital tool for documenting the implementation of violence protection in refugee accommodation centres. The state reception authorities of the respective federal states are responsible for administration: they make the protection monitor available to the individual refugee accommodation centres, which access the respective state server to use it.

What are the technical requirements for this?
The Violence Protection Monitor is made available via the respective state servers of the federal states. The technical basis for hosting the DeZIM Violence Protection Monitor is a Vue.js1 frontend, a FastAPI2 backend and a PostgreSQL3 database. The application is deployed using Docker so that it can be installed in different environments.

What is monitoring?
Monitoring is a well-established practice based on repeated surveys to record changes in prevailing conditions and processes. The continuous and systematic recording of processes creates the basis for understanding and improving them. The data can help to visualise problems and shortcomings, but also goals that have been achieved. Based on the findings, measures and approaches can be adapted and improved if necessary.

What added value does the violence protection monitor offer?
The Violence Protection Monitor is an instrument that documents the implementation of violence protection in shelters and can therefore provide support. Shelter managers, violence protection coordinators and other staff can disclose the current status, progress or setbacks, needs for improvement and prioritisation. By regularly collecting data, developments in the protection against violence can be recognised individually for each accommodation, whereupon measures for improvement can be taken.

What standards is the DeZIM violence protection monitor based on?
Shared accommodation centres must deal with potential violence and threats in a preventative manner. The Federal Initiative for the Protection of Refugees in Refugee Accommodation Centres has developed guidelines for this purpose. The DeZIM Violence Protection Monitor is based on its "Minimum Standards for the Protection of Refugees in Refugee Accommodation Centres" (in short: "Minimum Standards").

The development of the minimum standards:
The Federal Initiative for the Protection of Refugees in Refugee Accommodation Centres was launched in 2016 by the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth (BMFSFJ) and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) together with welfare organisations and other stakeholders. The "Minimum Standards for the Protection of Refugees in Refugee Accommodation Centres" developed by the initiative are available at:

Which federal states have implemented the Violence Protection Monitor so far and who is responsible for it?
The DeZIM Violence Protection Monitor is currently available in the federal states of Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria, Berlin, Bremen, Lower Saxony, Rhineland-Palatinate and Schleswig-Holstein. Responsibility lies with the respective federal state.

Where can I get further material on using the Violence Protection Monitor?
You can find instructions on how to use the Violence Protection Monitor in handouts .

For information material for residents regarding the Violence Protection Monitor, please contact your responsible state ministry [or look here on the website].

What are system administrators and what do they do?
System administrators are usually located at the ministry level of the respective federal state. They are responsible for creating accommodation profiles, local administrator profiles and linking them to the accommodation.

Who are local administrators and what do they do?
Local administrators are usually the centre management or violence protection coordinators. They have administrative rights (obtained from the system administrator) and create and manage all other user profiles. They are also responsible for sending out questionnaires and creating QR codes for residents as well as analysing and interpreting the data collected.

If the facility management changes, another user account must be created. The accounts are not transferable. Unlimited use of the accommodation admin accounts is not possible.

Who are users and what do they do?
Users are usually violence protection coordinators and other employees responsible for violence protection. Any number of user profiles can be created. They can access all data, visualisations and questionnaires and are therefore also jointly responsible for evaluating and interpreting the data. However, user profiles only need to be created if employees need to view the collected data. The questionnaires can also be completed without a profile.

Can incidents of violence also be recorded continuously - when they happen, or only once a month? The questionnaires follow a fixed cycle. Occupancy data and incidents of violence are collected monthly, while questionnaires on minimum standards are conducted quarterly. Residents can be surveyed continuously. This cycle is pre-programmed and cannot currently be changed.

The resident questionnaire: What are the QR codes for and in which languages is the questionnaire available? 
The QR codes take residents directly to the questionnaire and their answers are saved immediately. QR codes must be distributed to enable and support participation. A QR code only works for one response to the questionnaire at a time. Advertising materials to inform residents can be requested from the respective state ministry.

At the start of the questionnaire for residents, there is a choice of ten different languages (German, English, French, Spanish, Arabic, Persian, Turkish, Kurdish, Ukrainian, Russian). The analyses of the answers for the accommodation are always displayed in German.

Who can I contact if I get stuck (technically or in terms of content)?
The state ministries are responsible for the Violence Protection Monitor. In addition, DeZIM organises consultation hours once a quarter. Invitations to the consultation hours are distributed via the state ministries.

Contact & information
The DeZIM Violence Protection Monitor is the responsibility of the respective state ministries, which should be contacted directly. DeZIM also offers a consultation hour once a quarter for questions and networking among users. Invitations to the next consultation hour are sent out by the state ministries. 

Further information available online

Project: Protecting refugees in collective accommodation centres from violence (german)

Handout: The digital DeZIM violence protection monitor 2021

Handout: The digital DeZIM Violence Protection Monitor 2022

Funding: Federal Ministry of Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth (Institutional funding)

Cooperation partner:

The cooperation partners in this project are above all practical partners at federal and state level. These include state reception authorities, shelters, violence protection coordinators as well as the members of the Federal Initiative for Protection against Violence, in particular UNICEF and DIMR.