Organisers are setting up the new security measures at the Brandenburg Gate event in response to concerns of similar sex attacks. The tented area will be open to women who have been assaulted or who feel threatened or at risk, and want to seek help from psychologists and specially-trained staff.
"Make yourself known in any such case, speak to other revellers and ask for help," a statement told revellers. "You can turn here if you feel harassed."
The safe zone will be staffed by the German Red Cross, Berlin Police confirmed this week. "The organisers have set up a safety zone for women who have been victims of a sexual offence or are feeling harassed," they explained. Police also advised women to speak up if other partygoers get too close to them, and not to be afraid to ask others for help.
Anja Marx, a spokesperson for the event, told The Guardian: "We are doing this for the first time. The police requested it after they did it at the Munich Oktoberfest this year and it worked out well."
There have not been problems at previous New Year's Eve celebrations in Berlin, but fears have grown following the mass sex assaults in Cologne. Police received 1,170 complaints of criminal offences committed in the city during the New Year's celebrations, including 492 reports of sexual assault. Many of these were reportedly carried out by men with migrant backgrounds, particularly of North African and Arab descent.
Sexual assaults were also reported at other German cities, including Stuttgart and Hamburg, along with thefts and robberies targeting women.
Berlin's Brandenburg Gate party, described as one of the biggest street parties in Europe stretching for around two kilometres, features live bands, DJs and a firework display at midnight, and is free to enter. Other security measures planned for this year's event include concrete bollards and barricades, with large bags prohibited and visitor numbers strictly controlled.