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    Belgian politician calls for more sex-abuse shelters

    © Belga
    © Belga

    Secretary of State for Equal Chances Zuhal Demir (New Flemish Alliance, N-VA) says she would like to see more shelters for victims of sexual abuse in other provinces. She made the call on Wednesday in Tongeren at the launch of an awareness campaign against domestic violence in the province of Limburg.

    Belgium currently has three such shelters, in Brussels, Liège and Ghent. In these centres, in which nurses, doctors and inspectors work together, survivors of sexual violence have a right to a more humane approach to their suffering.

    Thanks to the system of shelters, they only need to relate their suffering once. “All actors need to be seated around the same table. In this way, it is easier to collect the evidence,” she said. “After a first assessment, we saw that the arrangement was better for the victims. In the Netherlands, we’ve seen that in the final analysis, there have been more convictions.”

    According to the Secretary of State, victims too often feel ashamed. “How many times haven’t we heard explanations like ‘I fell on the stairs’ or ‘I bumped into the door’?’ There is always a hidden figure. Please, expose violence,”  Zuhal Demir urged.

    The Secretary of State also announced the launch in late 2018 or early 2019 of a mobile app for fighting against harassment.

    Jason Bennett
    The Brussels Times