Daily reporting of sexual violence at the Roeselare Care Center

Daily reporting of sexual violence at the Roeselare Care Center

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Justice Vincent van Quekenborn said: “The number of reports makes it clear that sexual violence is a significant and unreported social problem. Women and girls are disproportionate victims of rape and assault.”

The Delta Arizona Post-Sexual Violence Care Center opened in Roeselare on March 8. Six months later, nearly 200 victims have come forward. This mainly concerns women (93%) and a third of minors (36%). According to medical coordinator Levin and Westen, they expected to register about 220 casualties in the next year, based on numbers from other care centers. “After six months, the number of victims assisted has already reached 191. So there is a good chance that the number of people registered will exceed 220,” says Minister Van Quekenborn.

Don’t you dare report

It is estimated that there are 100 cases of rape in our country every day. According to research conducted by the University of Ghent in 2021, ten percent of women surveyed were victims of sexual violence in the past year. For men, it was six percent.

Moreover, the vast majority of crimes remain under the radar and thus go unpunished. Many victims are traumatized, do not know where to seek help or do not dare to report the crime for fear of the perpetrator. It is estimated that only ten percent of victims reported the crime. This results in more than 8000 cases of rape and assault being recorded each year.

Convictions still low

Even when there is a complaint, the resulting number of convictions remains low. Often the reason is the lack of conclusive evidence. In many cases it is “word against word”.

Only 900 of these eight reports actually resulted in a conviction.

Post-Sexual Violence Care Centers

For Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Justice Vincent van Quekenborn and Secretary of State for Gender Equality Sarah Schlitz, combating sexual violence is a priority. “Victims’ willingness to report must be increased, the burden of proof must be increased and the number of convictions must be increased exponentially. Above all, many victims must be helped and found their way to help.”

That is why the government has committed to establishing Post-Sexual Violence Care Centers (ZSG). These centers adopt a multidisciplinary approach with medical assistance and psychological counseling, and if the victim wishes, you can also trace evidence and/or report it to the police.

There are now seven care centers after sexual violence: in Antwerp, Brussels, Charleroi, Ghent, Leuven, Liege and Roeselare. In 2023, centers will open in Limburg, Luxembourg and Namur. A team of doctors, forensic nurses, victim support and psychologists are available at any time of the day. Victims can go there 24/7.

“Report as soon as possible”

According to the ministers, it is important that the care center is open 24/7. “The chance of finding traces, such as DNA material, drops sharply after 72 hours. It is critical for victims to have traces picked up as early as possible, which the police and prosecutor can use if the victim decides to file a complaint to lay down.

Traces of 95 percent of the victims in Roeselare have been removed. “In the remaining five per cent of cases, it has been a long time since the facts,” the minister said. The willingness of victims in West Flanders to report the accident is about 70 percent, because 131 of the 191 victims decided to file a complaint immediately with the police.

There is no reason for euphoria

“High numbers are by no means a cause for euphoria and proof that sexual violence continues to take very large proportions. Behind these statistics hide shocking drama and shock. Moreover, there are undoubtedly many victims who do not yet know where to get help. .”

However, the first figures from the Post-Sexual Violence Care Center in Roeselare seem an explosive indication that more victims are beginning to find their way to professional help. The higher percentage of traces also means a greater chance of a conclusive proof burden and more convictions.

The new Sexual Criminal Code has been in effect since June 1, with tougher penalties for rape and assault crimes. Minister Van Kuekenborn: “We cannot rest on our laurels now. There is still a lot of work to be done to better protect victims. I want to say clearly to every victim: You are not alone. Go to a post-sexual violence care center, where they are prepared To help you. Police and Justice take every complaint seriously and do everything they can to find and punish the perpetrator.”

Read also:

Leave a Comment