In Belgium, partner violence is forbidden by law.
Hitting a partner can be punished with 1 year’s imprisonment. When this violence causes lasting injuries to the victim, the punishment can be more severe. Not only physical violence, but also harassment and verbal violence can be punished.
If you find yourself in an emergency situation and are afraid of further violence, you can go to a shelter.
Each CAW (Centre for General Well-being) has a special service you can go to called Slachtofferhulp (victim care). They can go with you to the police, a doctor or a court. When you go to a CAW, you do not have to give your name. You can get help and advice anonymously and free of charge.
You can also go to the police immediately to file a complaint. They are obliged to respect your privacy. If you are afraid of further violence, the police can protect you. The police are obliged to treat you in a respectful and correct way.
According to the law, if you are without legal residence status, the police have to treat you with the same respect as other victims. However, the police could arrest you because of your residence status. Therefore, it is best to be accompanied by a professional from a CAW or from another social organisation.
Help for perpetrators
If you feel you have been violent in a relationship or you feel there is a risk that you will become violent towards another person, you can seek help. Therapy can help you to talk about your feelings and behaviour and to prevent you from becoming violent (again).