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First centre supporting victims of domestic abuse opens in Brussels

10:52 30/04/2024

The Brussels’ agency for prevention and security has opened the first centre for intrafamily violence in the region.

The Olista centre aims to provide comprehensive support to victims by coordinating the efforts of the various organisations involved and by offering shelter, reports Belga.

With its partners, has a twofold objective of coordinating prevention and security within the  region and helping to ensure the security of Brussels’ residents and visitors  to the region.

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

Intrafamily or domestic violence is committed by a partner, former partner, parent, relative or friend. It can be physical, sexual, psychological or economic. Women are the principle victims.

More than half of Brussels women (55%) have suffered some form of violence from an intimate partner. The problem is considered to far more extensive due to underreporting of incidents.

For Brussels secretary of state Nawal Ben Hamou, "The purpose of this multi-disciplinary centre is to manage the most problematic cases of women who are victims of domestic violence.”  She underlined that the aim was to direct victims as effectively as possible towards the relevant players in order to try to resolve their situation.

In its first phase, the Olista centre will only deal with cases of intimate partner violence, before extending its services to help all victims of domestic violence at a later stage.

Project manager at and coordinator of the Olista centre Anita Biondo said: "We will analyse the case, determine the victim's specific needs and identify the best partner to help them."

As well as streamlining the actions of professionals and enabling them to work together, Olista will provide shelter for victims. They and their 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.

Written by The Bulletin