New Report on Migrant Women’s Access to Protection from Domestic Violence in Belgium
Thursday, November 15, 2012 3:00 PM

A recent report from Human Rights Watch states that the risk of deportation prevents many migrant women who are victims of domestic violence in Belgium from getting the protection they need.
The report, entitled “’The Law was Against Me’: Migrant Women’s Access to Protection for Family Violence in Belgium” found that even though laws and policies to investigate, prosecute, and prevent domestic violence in Belgium have been adopted and implemented, they must be adapted to protect women who are migrants. Liesl Gerntholtz, Director of Women’s Rights at Human Rights Watch, said, “The women we interviewed face a terrible choice: endure abuse at the hands of a partner, or report the violence and risk deportation. Belgium needs to make sure that every woman who experiences domestic violence can get the help she needs, regardless of migrant status.”
The current law does not protect women if they leave their abuser while their migration application is being processed, if they leave him without first telling the authorities, or if the partner leaves Belgium. Proving violence and meeting income requirements are also barriers to protection, and undocumented women face challenges in accessing shelter and financial support from local authorities.
For the complete report, click here.