Studies have shown that one in four women in Germany experiences at least one incident of domestic violence in their partnership. Of these women, 60% have children who are always affected by this violence, directly or indirectly. Because the topic is rather taboo, both within society and the family, receiving information and support is a challenge.

Especially in daycare centers, close relations between teachers, parents, and children develop, which allows for signs of domestic violence to be recognized and discussed. Daycare centers, however, lack didactic concepts for preventing domestic violence, and Kindergarten teachers may not be sufficiently informed about and sensitized to the issue. This is why BORA has come forward with this program to bridge the gap.

The PiKita preventive program is designed for interested daycare centers in Berlin. It targets teachers, preschool children, and their parents.

It consists of 6 to 8 hours of in-service training for teachers and looks into causes, forms, consequences, and the extent of domestic violence as well as intervention options.

The following topics are addressed:

  • children as witnesses and victims of domestic violence
  • effects of the experience of violence on the family system
  • legal basics, particularly with regard to privacy/data protection
  • how to act when the well-being of a child is suspected of being in jeopardy
  • project work with children and parents
  • how to communicate with the parents and children concerned
  • support and intervention options

The training aims at raising awareness of domestic violence, eliminating taboos surrounding it, informing teachers, and expanding their competencies for professional action, including available support and intervention options.

The work with the children consists of six one-hour sessions. At these workshops, the following topics are addressed:

  1. differences and commonalities
  2. how to recognize and perceive feelings
  3. nonviolent dispute and conflict resolution
  4. Are children allowed to say no?
  5. good and bad secrets
  6. asking for and accepting help

We want to boost children’s resistance to violence and show them where to turn for help. Also, we teach them to resolve conflicts nonviolently. The following competencies will be developed and strengthened:

  • self-awareness and autonomy (self-assurance, self-confidence, perceiving feelings/violence, one’s own biography and family, recognizing differences and commonalities)
  • social skills (setting limits, conflict resolution)
  • expertise (family and behavioral roles, values and standards, rules, secrets, available support, etc.)

At a special parents’ evening, we provide information on domestic violence in general and the effects of violence on child development in particular. Participants learn how to spot violence in the family and the social environments and where to turn for help.

The program was developed in 2007 and has been available to Berlin daycare centers since 2008 without interruption. Program sponsors include a variety of foundations, including the German Class Lottery Berlin Foundation, Werner Coenen Foundation, IKEA Foundation, Bosch Foundation, and Aktion Mensch.

To enhance the program’s quality, BORA had it evaluated by Sozialwissenschaftliches FrauenForschungsInstitut SOFFI F. (Prof Dr. Barbara Kavemann) during the 2014/2015 school year, and in 2017 by Camino Werkstatt für Fortbildung, Praxisbegleitung und Forschung im sozialen Bereich gGmbH.

In 2011, the program received the Schutzbengel Award and in 2013 the Berlin Prevention Award.


Projects under this program are financed by subsidies; daycare centers have to make small contributions.