Belgian security guards to undergo sexual violence training

Belgian security guards to undergo sexual violence training
Credit: Belga / Gabriel Mitran

The Federal Parliament's Justice Committee is currently preparing a bill that would help security guards be better trained to respond to sexual violence and harassment in public spaces through mandatory training, Le Soir reports.

The proposal had first been tabled by Chanelle Bonaventure (PS) last summer and followed the creation of the #BalanceTonBar movement in late 2021 which collected testimonies from victims of sexual assault in Brussels' nightlife.

The subsequent fallout placed pressure on the capital's authorities to act, especially in the municipality of Ixelles where many of the disgraced bars were located. A survey was conducted into the municipal nightlife last year, which revealed that a majority of those going out in Ixelles had witnessed or experienced sexual harassment.

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Findings also showed that bar patrons would have felt safer with increased police involvement and a better sensitisation of workers, which Bonaventure's proposal attempts to achieve by ensuring that any certificate handed out to potential security agents includes prior training. 

The agents taught about how Belgium's CPVS sexual violence centres function and how best to report potential victims towards them, which the MP hopes would lead to security guards “being seen by victims as allies."

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