Sexual criminal law reform approved in Belgium!
On 17 March 2022, the Chamber of Deputies approved in plenary session the reform of sexual criminal law, which should enter into force on 1 June.
It was about time.
Since the current Code dates from 1867.
The reform is multi-layered.
It is not just a question of violence.
Until now, an assault was only considered sexual assault if there was coercion or violence.
However, this does not take into account the state of shock that the victim may be in, nor does it take into account the state of unconsciousness (coma, influence of drugs, medication or alcohol). This will now be considered.
Free and informed consent becomes the cornerstone for establishing assault.
Sexual majority remains at 16 years, but the reform does not recognise consent under 14 years.
While rape is still punishable by 5 to 10 years in prison, this will be increased to 15 to 20 years.
Other types of sentences will be added to the judges’ options: electronic bracelet, community service, therapeutic follow-up, etc.
Aggravating circumstances will be able to increase these sentences: incest, discriminatory motives, aggression committed by a person in a position of authority or a partner, the assistance or presence of several individuals.
Other provisions, not discussed here, are also included.
We welcome this reform and hope that every effort will be made to implement it.
Indeed, less than one in ten rape complaints results in a conviction…
Other countries should follow this example.
The reality is very different outside Belgium.
While this reform is good news for Belgian victims, it is far from being the case in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
There, women victims of violence are left to fend for themselves.
Our association aims to help these women victims of sexual violence in the DRC.
It is an extension of the work of Dr Denis Mukwege.
How does our association act?
By getting them out of their situation of exclusion, by giving them the means to start a professional activity by means of a microcredit, training and personalised follow-up.
A first experience has enabled 90% of the women supported to get out of precariousness.
Would you like to join us in helping women victims of sexual violence?
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Go to this page to support us: https://interface-compassion-internationale.org/index.php/donations-en/