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    Nearly 12,000 sexual violence offences in 2017

    © Belga
    Nawal Ben Hamou wants better support for victims of sexual offences.
    © Belga

    The Sudpresse publications are reporting on Tuesday that in 2017, 11,999 sexual violence offences were recorded in the National General Database for Belgium (“BNG”). The Minister of the Interior, Jan Jambon, wishes to improve victim services.

    The 11,999 incidents of sexual violence include all sexual offences, taking into account child and adult victims. The federal Socialist deputy, Nawal Ben Hamou, points out that there is no evident filing of a complaint by such victims. “Victims, who are often in a fragile emotional state, even a fragile physical state, on the one hand feel embarrassed to speak with a police officer of the opposite sex. Equally, they are concerned about having their hearing sometimes take place in poorly soundproofed premises, or worse in view of everyone.”

    Faced with this finding, the Minister of the Interior, Jan Jambon, notes that “significant steps have been taken to improve services for such victims thanks, in particular, to federal subsidies.” He adds that since 2013, filmed hearings are not an option. He further says, “…it is even compulsory to conduct an audiovisual hearing for minor victims or witnesses, amongst others, of sexual violence.”

    He further asserts being eager, at all costs, to “create centres responsible for sexual violence cases in Ghent, Brussels and Liège. The police services affected take a very active role in such cases.”

    Jan Jambon recommends a “professional, empathetic and respectable [approach] by the police officer in relation to the victim faced with such a situation.” Such a procedure must fall “within a multidisciplinary framework, which involves relevant services (including the police, support services, medical treatment, courts and other such services).”

    Maria Novak
    The Brussels Times