After sexual assault awareness campaign, changes to be made to Cinquantenaire Park
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After sexual assault awareness campaign, changes to be made to Cinquantenaire Park

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More police patrols, better lighting, and lower bushes are some of the changes being made to counter assault in the Cinquantenaire Park in Brussels.

The measures come following the near-rape of an expat who was attacked while walking home and only narrowly escaped. The woman launched a petition calling for changes to the park after she learned that police were already aware “that there are monthly cases of rape and sexual assault in this area.”

Police say that there have only been five complaints in the last 10 years regarding sexual offences in the Cinquantenaire Park, but the petition received thousands of signatures, and testimonies showed that while many women do not file official reports of such offences with police, the attempted assault was indeed not an isolated incident.

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“The police and city guards will patrol more often, the lighting will be reviewed, and bushes will be trimmed to increase visibility,” says Brussels MP Carla Dejonghe, who raised the issue in the police council and with Brussels ministers.

In February, the mayors of Etterbeek and Brussels, the chiefs of police of the Brussels-Ixelles and Montgomery zones and representatives of the IBGE (responsible for the Cinquantenaire Park and its security guards) visited the park to discuss the problem.

In addition to the increased patrols, better lighting, and trimmed hedges, signs will be posted at the entrances of the park that allow visitors to better understand the layout of the park and the nearest police stations.

The Parc du Cinquantenaire, or Jubelpark, is a landscaped 19th-century park with floral gardens and fountains, with an art museum and a military history museum.

Helen Lyons
The Brussels Times