A Care Centre for Sexual Violence (ZSG) has registered almost one victim every day since it was opened. The care centre was opened six months ago in West Flanders.
As part of the current government’s vow to work on a more active and multidisciplinary approach to the widespread issue of sexual harassment in Belgium, it has opened up more such centres, which serves as reception points for victims where they can obtain psychological support, medical care and help to file a police report if they wish to do so.
In the first six months of the centre being open, 191 victims were registered. Minister of Justice, Vincent Van Quickenborne said, “This amounts to almost one victim per day, among whom 93% are women and 36% minors.”
“The number of registrations far exceeds expectations (about 220 registrations of victims in one year) and illustrates all the more that sexual violence is a large and underexposed social problem.”
These figures are just the tip of the iceberg, as many of these incidents go underreported, meaning they therefore also go unpunished.
Even when the incidents are reported, the lack of conclusive evidence means perpetrators are often not convicted: if some 8,000 cases are reported, just 900 will actually result in a conviction.
In reality, it is estimated that some 100 rapes occur in Belgium every day. According to research by the University of Ghent in 2021, 10% of the women surveyed were victims of sexual violence in the past year (for men, this figure was 6%).
From next year, another 3 centres will open in Limburg, Luxembourg and Namur. It is hoped the further development of the ZSGs- there are now seven across the nation, will help ensure more willingness to report, in turn leading to more convictions.


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