'Human approach needed': Sensitive criminal files made available online

'Human approach needed': Sensitive criminal files made available online
Victims or their families had to go to the court registry in person to consult these files. Credit: Belga/ LAURIE DIEFFEMBACQ

The first judicial files on sexual violence, intra-familial violence, murder and manslaughter have been made digitally available in Belgium to allow consultation by victims and surviving relatives in a more private setting.

Before, victims or their families had to go to the court registry in person to consult these files. Groups representing these people have been calling for a more human approach for years. A central online access point for such files has now been created for this purpose.

"By making judicial dossiers digitally available, the judiciary has taken yet another step in its transformation. It comes not a moment too soon," Justice Minister Vincent Van Quickenborne said in a statement.

"In a digital age, it is hard to understand why a government still requires citizens to physically come to the registry to inspect criminal dossiers. Especially when it comes to sensitive cases such as sexual violence, domestic violence or even murder and manslaughter," he added.

Safe environment to view files

Many files related to such cases can contain horrific details, sometimes leading to parents being confronted with images of abuse of their child and victims of sexual violence having to relive the events in detail against their will, often in a large public room with many other people present, which is "not a victim-friendly environment."

Related News

A file can now be made available digitally after the judicial investigation is closed by the investigating judge via JustConsult. "A humane judiciary is an accessible judiciary," Van Quickenborne said.

In a second phase, digital files will be extended to all types of criminal cases and criminal investigations, and all parties involved in criminal cases will then be able to consult their file digitally. In a third phase, dossiers will be digital from the outset and will no longer need to be scanned by the judicial services.


Latest News

Copyright © 2021 The Brussels Times. All Rights Reserved.