Five new reporting points for victims of sexual violence in Brussels

Five new reporting points for victims of sexual violence in Brussels
National demonstration against violence in Brussels on Sunday 27 November 2022. Credit: Belga/ Nicolas Maeterlinck

Measures coming into force next year will make it easier for victims of sexual violence in Brussels to seek help after an attack. Notably, the number of reporting points across the region will be raised.

Recent figures published by the Sexual Violence Support Centres (CPVS) of Saint-Pierre hospital identified a considerable demand for their services where victims can obtain pyschological support, medical care and file a police report. The CPVS saw between 40 and 50 victims report to the centre every month, mostly students.

Brussels parliament MP Hilde Sabbe requested the figures from State Secretary for Equal Opportunities Nawal Ben Hamou. Whilst she welcomed the increase in people finding their way to CPVSs, she stressed the need for greater efforts to address the issue.

"The Care Centre is located in Brussels city centre, while the major university campuses are located in Etterbeek, Ixelles and Jette – quite a distance and an extra barrier for victims."

Additional steps taken

Brussels universities have been the site of numerous incidents, including assaults in student housing complexes and when walking to and from classes. Many also experience sexual abuse during a night out.

Ben Hamou therefore announced five new EVA (Emergency Victim Assistance) reporting points will open in Brussels in 2023, including one at the Boondael police station, located between the ULB and VUB campuses.

"I'm glad the State Secretary is taking the bull by the horns and really working on improvements on the ground, in close proximity to students. That is where the difference is made," said Sabbe in response to the announcement.

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Aside from these centres opening, the regional strategy for violence against women focuses on reaching young people and students by collaborating with youth organisations to fine-tune communication regarding these crimes.

As part of the region's plan to combat sexual harassment and violence in the nightlife sector, launched following the revelation of the wide-spread nature of this issue, all Brussels cafés, bars and clubs will be receiving an information pack, with stickers containing information on how to respond to these incidents happening in their venues.

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