Thursday, 05 December 2019
The Justice committee of the federal parliament is to set up a working group to consider the issue of violence against women, in particular, a controversial proposal to introduce an electronic bracelet to be worn by violent men to warn women if they come too close.
The bracelet is already in use in Spain. Men found guilty of violence towards women are made to wear the bracelet, which sets off an alarm should the man come within a certain distance of the woman, at which point the police can intervene.
Since the introduction of the bracelet in Spain, incidents of violence against women have dropped. In Belgium, meanwhile, more than 20 women have died at the hands of men since the beginning of this year.
The decision to set up a working group is a response to arguments from some members of the committee, among them women, who claim that an expert report has concluded that there is still work to be done before deciding on the issue of the bracelet.
“In its present state, the proposal is not ready to be voted [on],” said French-speaking socialist member Laurence Zanchetta, Belga reports. “There is certainly a need for some urgency, but that does not mean we have to rush into things.”
One idea before the committee is to set up a technical group to look into the functioning and efficacy of the bracelet, while the issue of the rights of the accused will also have to be looked at.
The main proponent of the measure, Vanessa Matz (cdH) is pleading for the matter to remain before the committee itself rather than being sidelined into a technical group. The majority of the issues raised by experts have already been covered by amendments to the original proposal, she said.
“We can go on hearing [testimonies], because that is important,” she said. “But at a certain point we have to begin to take action.”
The Brussels Times