Violence against women and domestic violence in relation to the Istanbul Convention

AuthorNathalie Wuiame
10 Violence ag ainst women and domestic v iolence in relat ion to the Istanbul
10.1 General (legal) context
10.1.1 Surveys and reports on issues of violence against women and domestic violence
The results of a ‘National Survey on the impact of domestic violence on work, workers and
workplace in Belgium’ were published by the Institute for the Equality o f Women and Men
in 2017.95 The survey consisted of over 40 questions that focused on workers’ experiences
of domestic violence and the workplace, including questions regarding whether they were
personally experiencing, or had ever experien ced domestic violence, and if they were
aware of co-workers who were experiencing or perpetrating domestic viol ence (DV).
A total of 1 989 p eople completed the survey (69.3 % o f respondents were women and
30.5 % were men). Almost one-third (28 %) of respondents reported personal experience
of domestic violence at som e point in their lives, which is simila r to the results of other
studies on the impact of DV at the workplace.
Of those who reported DV experience, 72.9 % indicated it affected their ability to work,
and a further 42 % indicated that DV affected their workplace ‘most’ of the time or ‘all the’
time, one reason being that the abuse can continue at the workplace through abusive
phone calls or texts, or the ab user physically coming to the workplace. Around 41 %
indicated that DV made them miss work, 12.6 % reported having experienced
discrimination after discussing the DV at work, and sadly, 7.2 % lost their jobs as a result
of the DV.
In terms of reporting to and accessing formal sourc es of support, almost two -thirds of all
victims did not receive assistance, despite the majority of respondents (89 %) being aware
of the services available for victims of DV. The majority (88 %) did not believe that
employers were aware when DV was affecting their workers, and 22 % believed that
employers did not respond positively to employed victims of DV. Around one-third of the
respondents also indica ted that they believed that union officials re sponded rarely or not
at all in a positive way to help members when union officials became aware of the
experience of DV.
An interim report on the implementation of the National Action Plan for the Fight Against
All Forms of Gender-Based Violence 2015-2019 provides information on the registration of
complaints to different services, on the mea sures to prevent and protect with regard to
gender-based violence adopted by federal a nd federate entities during th e period 2015-
2017 under different aspects, as required by the Istanbul Convention (e.g. phone helpline,
shelter services, etc.).96
In 2018, three sexual assault ref erral centres were set up in hospitals (one in Flanders,
one in the Brussels Region and one in Wallonia).
95 Institute for the Equality of Women and Men (2017), National Survey results on the impact of domestic
violence on work, workers and workplace in Belgium, https://igvm-
96 Information on the national action plan and its implementation can be found in French and Dutch at

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