What can counselling centres do for you?
In Germany, there is as yet no area-wide network of anti-discrimination bureaus (ADB). The State Government funds currently five anti-discrimination projects (Link: NRWgegenDiskriminierung.de) which you may use if you consider yourself to have been discriminated against. In addition to these anti-discrimination specialist centres there are also integration counselling services that may be able to help you further. You can find addresses of the anti-discrimination centres and other centres here. In general, the above-mentioned centres can help you in the following ways:
- Accompaniment and support
The counsellor will initially establish with you exactly what has occurred. Here the transcript of the event will help you. Then together you decide how best to go forward. You may decide to attempt to settle the matter out of court (for example, a letter of complaint, a personal discussion or conflict mediation) or, if the prerequisites are met, to file a complaint. In the consultation, it can be clarified whether a legal approach is possible and what steps are necessary for it. Moreover, you will receive psychological support in order to to deal with the experienced discrimination, if required. The counsellors can also pass you on to other specialist services, if deemed necessary.
- Conflict mediation
The counselling centre can organize a personal discussion between you and the opposing party in the presence of a conflict mediatorThis is particularly useful if you cannot avoid the discriminating persons in the future (for example, in your residential area, at the workplace or in the supermarket around the corner). The conflict mediation often leads to more satisfying results for both parties than a court proceeding with uncertain outcome.
- Public Awareness
If you are unable to reach your goal with the methods mentioned above, you can contact the media with the help of a counselling centre. This is often an effective means of exerting pressure upon discriminators.
How should I behave when I am being discriminated against?
Keep calm and level-headed!
- Don’t allow yourself to be provoked
- Ascertain whether there are witnesses
- Write down exactly what happened
Demand Your Rights Immediately!
- What claims am I entitled to make?
The lodgement of the Lawsuit
- Avail yourself of legal advice
- Organise support