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Population Size:

11,484,055.[1] 49% are male, 51% are female.

Number of People Experiencing Domestic Abuse Each Year:

2019-2020: 6% of women reported having experienced physical and/or sexual violence from an intimate partner.[2]

2014: 24% of women reported having experienced domestic violence.[3]

No research on male victims or other gender identities.

Cost of Domestic Abuse to the Economy Each Year:

€2.4 billion per year.[4]

Estimated % Change due to COVID-19:

"In Belgium, the Flemish Helpline reported a 70% rise in calls for help in the third week of lockdown compared to the first week; the calls involved almost double the number of potential victims of violence”.[5]

Current Law and Policy:

Belgium has made multiple commitments to end violence against women and girls.[6] It has committed to aligning its policies to the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combatting Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence, expanding its National Action Plan (‘NAP’) and aligning its policy to the provisions in the Convention. Through the new NAP, Belgium has committed to implementing more than 120 new measures to fight against various forms of violence, including violence from an intimate partner, forced marriages, honour-related violence and female genital mutilation. The NAP has been updated with new measures in collaboration with different stakeholders.

Following General Recommendation 19 of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (‘CEDAW’) Committee and the Universal Periodic Review of Belgium adopted by the United Nations Human Rights Council, Belgium has committed itself to extending its NAP to all forms of violence against women and girls. A working group has been created in order to integrate a section on “sexual violence” into the NAP.

The fight against violence from an intimate partnerand other forms of domestic violence requires an integrated approach. Belgium has committed itself to continuing to develop coordinated and integrated intervention strategies and to supporting the national bodies responsible for coordinating, implementing and evaluating relevant policies. The Government wants to strengthen legal measures in order to guarantee a safe environment for women and children who are the victims of violence. Recently, two new laws have strengthened the fight against domestic violence: a law on the temporary banning of a violent partner from the home in case of domestic violence, and another that enables persons bound to professional secrecy to inform the public prosecutor when they are faced with a victim of domestic violence.

Belgium has committed itself to attempting to sensitise the general public and specific groups, such as young people, to the issue of domestic violence. It is also continuing its fight against human trafficking, which involves developing an integral and integrated legal and regulatory approach to address human trafficking as well as its prevention, research into the issue, the protection of victims and the prosecution of perpetrators. Belgium has committed itself to focusing on the protection of women and girls from gender-based violence in conflict and post-conflict situations and is to adopt a new NAP entitled ‘Women, Peace and Security’.

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