Fleeing a situation of physical or psychological violence is considered essential travel, according to the Secretary of State for Equal Opportunity, Sarah Schlitz.
The ban on movement on public roads between midnight and 6.00 AM, decided by the Consultative Committee, does not apply in such situations, Ms Schlitz explained in a press release.
During the March lockdown, there was a sharp increase in domestic violence, with three times the number of calls on hotlines, along with a spike in complaints and related police interventions.
The most frequent cases had to do with women who had been abused by violent partners, children or teenagers who were the victims of violence or incest, and LGBTQIA+ persons excluded from their family circles, the Secretary of State explained.
“People who feel unsafe at home and wish to flee their family circles need to know that they can be given a hearing and taken care of by the police,” she said.
“We need to prevent a drama from occurring because the person did not dare leave home due to the curfew,” Ms. Schlitz added, noting that the ministerial decree instituting the curfew listed this exception.
She also announced that she would invite her colleagues in the Council of Ministers to an emergency meeting to come up with a federal plan against domestic violence, and that she would call for an inter-ministerial meeting on women’s rights.
The Brussels Times