New support centre in Brussels to help victims of domestic violence

Brussels’ security agency opened the first Brussels centre for intrafamily violence on Monday. The region aims to provide comprehensive support to victims by coordinating the efforts of all organisations involved and by offering shelter.

Intrafamily or domestic violence is committed by a partner, former partner, parent, relative or friend. It can be physical, sexual, psychological or economic and includes intimate partner violence, child neglect, child abuse, parental abuse, sibling violence or elder abuse.

In 2022, a total of 4,848 reports of intrafamily violence were registered in Brussels, equivalent to 13 reports every day.

Women are the main victims. More than half of Brussels women (55 per cent) have suffered some form of intimate partner violence. In reality, the problem is many times bigger than the figures indicate, as there are many people who do not report it.

"We will analyse the case, determine the victim's specific needs and identify the best partner to help them"

"The purpose of this multi-disciplinary centre is to manage the most problematic cases of women who are victims of domestic violence, with the aim of directing them as effectively as possible towards the relevant players and trying to resolve their situation," said Brussels secretary of state Nawal Ben Hamou.

The Olista centre will offer comprehensive victim support, by providing shelter and educating professionals who come into contact with victims. In its first phase, Olista will only deal with cases of intimate partner violence. At a later stage, it will help all victims of domestic violence.

Shelter for victims

"Our partners - be they the Brussels public prosecutor's office, the police, EVA units, medical centres, etc - will be able to call on us to coordinate cases of violence in which they are overwhelmed," said Anita Biondo, project manager at and coordinator of the Olista centre. "We will analyse the case, determine the victim's specific needs and identify the best partner to help them."

Olista's main role is to streamline the actions of professionals and enable them to work together. It will also provide shelter for victims. A victim of intimate partner violence with children will get a suitable room and counselling, with adapted facilities for people with disabilities.

The centre also wants to work with perpetrators, with counselling taking place at a separate location.



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