Women from migrant backgrounds are more often subject to domestic violence owing to their personal situation. This emerges from a symposium organised yesterday (Monday), by the Brussels Secretary of State for Equal Opportunities, Bianca Debaets (of the Flemish Christian Democrats). The objective of this is to find solutions to better protect such individuals.
In 2015, the police recorded a total of 2,401 complaints for domestic violence in the Brussels region.
However, this figure is only part of the story, given that not all victims actually complain.
The Brussels Secretary of State for Equal Opportunities says that women from migrant backgrounds are less inclined to indicate incidents of violence, owing to their personal situation. The fear of losing their resident permits, being ill-informed and lacking a circle of friends to lean upon all makes them more vulnerable.
Women migrating to join their husband in Belgium as part of family reunification are normally protected. However, there is one exception: Bianca Debaets regrets, “Those who do not have permanent resident status have no legal protection. This means that if these women leave their home without informing the Foreign Office that they are victims of domestic violence, they could be deported.”
Another problem is financial dependence on their spouse. Statistics show that barely 41% of women from migrant backgrounds work whilst 71% of men have a job.