In Germany, the right to privacy and intimacy are basic rights.
Privacy is defined spatially as the non-public sphere, the domestic arena, the family circle and private life, and the right to intimacy includes among other things sexuality and sexual life.
However, these notions of privacy and intimacy as well as the processes in place to protect persons from intimate partner violence are based on living circumstances wherein the private sphere is separated from the public sphere through the walls of one’s home. But how is intimacy and privacy experienced among persons who live under conditions which do not allow for this spatial separation. How do such citizens perceive their legal agency and how do they interact with the state when they are wronged?
Through an analysis of policy and legal documents and ethnographic fieldwork, I analyse how privacy and intimate relationships are experienced and lived without regular shelter and examines the role that violence plays in the intimate relationships of unhoused persons. How do they witness, expect, endure and execute intimate partner violence?
How do unhoused persons mediate and regulate violence within their relationships? How do they relate to and interact with state laws and law enforcement? Do they take steps to realise their rights and do they seek the protection of the state? And if not which, if any, alternative mechanisms do they employ?
I consider three focus groups: unhoused persons; state and legal institutions and intermediaries who provide services (faith-based organisations, ngos, voluntary and community-based organisations) Based on research in Leipzig, I consider the interplay between the legal-structural, the institutional-political, the social-relational and the intimate-personal and combine anthropology and law.