Sexual violence is an unwanted sexual act or activity. An act or activity is sexual violence when:

  • it is not done with consent: at least one of the partners did not agree to engage in the activity and/or;
  • there is coercion: one of the partners is forced and/or;
  • the partners are not equals. For instance: one partner has more power than the other, one of the partners is younger than 18 or has a disability.

Some forms of sexual violence are:

The person who commits sexual violence is most often a person known to the victim or a trusted person such as a family member, partner or friend. It can also be a complete stranger.

Sexual violence is forbidden by law in Belgium and can be punished. There are never mitigating circumstances. This means that nothing will be accepted by the judge as an excuse for sexual violence. For example: the behaviour of the victim, how she/he is dressed, what she/he says or does are never an excuse for sexual violence.

Seksueel geweld is een ongewenste seksuele handeling of activiteit. Een handeling of activiteit is seksueel geweld wanneer:

  • dit gebeurt zonder toestemming: minstens een van de partners ging niet akkoord om deel te nemen aan de activiteit en/of;
  • er sprake is van dwang: een van de partners wordt gedwongen en/of;
  • de partners zijn geen gelijken: de ene partner heeft meer macht of een van de partners is jonger dan 18 of heeft een handicap.

Voorbeelden van seksueel geweld zijn:

Meestal kent of vertrouwt het slachtoffer de persoon die het geweld pleegt, zoals een familielid, partner of vriend. Het kan ook een vreemde zijn.

Seksueel geweld is strafbaar in België. Er zijn nooit verzachtende omstandigheden. De rechter zal geen enkel argument aanvaarden als excuus voor seksueel geweld. Het gedrag van het slachtoffer, hoe hij/zij zich kleedt en wat hij/zij zegt of doet, kunnen bijvoorbeeld nooit een excuus zijn voor seksueel geweld.

More information or help needed?

CAW - Centrum Algemeen Welzijn
Centre for general well-being - Help with all kinds of issues: a difficult relationship, medical, financial, administrative, legal or material problems, family problems,... CAWs also provide assistance to victims of violence and abuse. Find a CAW in your neighbourhood:
1712
Free telephone number for an answer to all questions regarding violence.
1712 (9-17h)
Family doctor
You can talk to a family doctor about almost every intimate issue. If necessary the family doctor can refer you to a specialised health professional. Find a family doctor in your neighbourhood:
Safe house (vluchthuis)
A safe house provides shelter, support, tranquility and security to people who are threatened and/or abused. The addresses of the safe houses are secret.
078 150 300
Police
Assistance in a life threatening situation
101
Sexual Violence Care Centre (Zorgcentrum na seksueel geweld) - Brussels
Service in the hospital for victims of sexual violence. The care centre provides medical and psychological help and helps collect evidence. You can also file complaints here. Open every day, at all times.
02 535 45 42
Sexual Violence Care Centre (Zorgcentrum na seksueel geweld) - Ghent
Service in the hospital for victims of sexual violence. The care centre provides medical and psychological help and helps collect evidence. You can also file complaints here. Open every day, at all times.
09 332 80 80
Sexual Violence Care Centre (Zorgcentrum na seksueel geweld) - Liège
Service in the hospital for victims of sexual violence. The care centre provides medical and psychological help and helps collect evidence. You can also file complaints here. Open every day, at all times.
04 367 93 11
I.T.E.R.
Centre for prevention, counselling and treatment of sexually abuse behaviour. Help and counseling for perpetrators of sexual violence, persons who have questions about their sexual behaviour and anybody with questions regarding sexual violence.
02 512 62 43 (9-16h)
PAG-ASA
Assistance to victims of human trafficking
02 511 64 64
Payoke
Primary care, support, and protection for victims of human trafficking and exploitation
03 201 16 90
More health professionals

Dictionary and translations