Following approximately 1,200 sexual attacks on women in Cologne at festive celebrations in 2015, organisers of a Berlin event have made the decision to introduce a 'safety zone' for women attending the city's public celebration.
The team behind the Brandenburg Gate party, which is scheduled to take place later tonight, have sought to remove the fear born of the Cologne events by creating a zone specifically for women who feel threatened, or have been the victim of an assault.
Members of the Red Cross will provide to support to women who make use of the designated zone, with spokeswoman of Berlin's main New Year's Eve celebrations, Anja Marx, explaining: "Assaulted women can stay here and calm down or speak to someone trained to offer psychological support."
The move has been the subject of debate, with the chairman of Germany's police union, Rainer Wendt, arguing that the establishment of a zone implies the existence of secure and insecure areas.
"Whoever came up with this idea did not understand its political dimension. It implies that there are zones of security as well as zones of insecurity,” he said, arguing that the zone implies that sexual violence is in some way a reality of life.
However, according to The Washington Post, others have praised its introduction and lauded those who sought to make sexual violence a 'public concern rather than a private problem'.