How do I proceed?
Step-by-step guide to reporting a criminal offence
Anyone can report a criminal offence (even minors) It is important to report the offence as soon as possible. This increases the chances that the police will be able to solve the crime. In addition, the victim must file a criminal complaint within three months for certain crimes (e.g. insults). You can prevent this period from expiring by going to the police as quickly as possible. The police will otherwise be unable to take action. In most cases you can report a criminal offence days, weeks and even months after the incident.
A criminal offence can be reported to the following authorities in particular:
The best method is to report the offence directly to the police. Click here for a list with the address and telephone numbers of the individual police stations in Munich.
You can call, go there in person or write a letter. Relate what happened in as much detail as possible. Ideally you should bring along the notes you made about what happened. The police is obliged to investigate all reports of criminal offences. The police must make a record of every reported incident. They are not allowed to simply send you away. You are entitled to request a safe space to report an incident if you feel uncomfortable with other people in the room. You may also ask for a state security officer to be brought in.
Click here for a template to report a criminal offence:Download
Minor witness protection
You are entitled to give the police an alternative address other than your own if you are exposed to particular danger (e.g. the danger of again becoming a victim of hate crime or if someone threatens you with violence because you want to report a criminal offence or make a statement about the proceedings). You can then provide another contact address, for example the address of a counselling centre that you have already asked to mediate between you and the police (known as “minor” witness protection).
Please note: Name the hate crime (discriminatory motivation)
If you report a criminal offence, it is important that you tell the police without being asked that the perpetrator acted out of prejudice towards (for example) your skin colour, language or sexual orientation and that it may be a case of hate crime. Insist that this wording is included in the record of your complaint. Otherwise refuse to sign the form (if you are reporting the offence in person).
Hate crimes are treated differently to other offences due to their particular seriousness and the severity of their effects on societal cohesion. More severe punishments are handed down, and the public prosecutor will not drop the cases due to triviality or lack of public interest.
There are some particular aspects you need to consider when dealing with sexualised violence and hate speech (hate crime in a digital environment).
The “Equality protects against violence!” (Gleichberechtigung schützt vor Gewalt) campaign run by the city’s Gender Equality Office provides a good overview of procedures and help in cases of sexualised and domestic violence.
The Bavarian State Government’s "Bavaria against Hate" (Bayern gegen Hass) campaign offers information on dealing with and reporting hate speech.