Assault and rape

If you have been the victim of assault, rape or attempted rape, contact the Police immediately or visit the police station of your choice.

ASSAULT

Describe the event and the perpetrator(s). If possible, state the direction in which the perpetrator(s) left and their usual place of residence, if you know it.

The officers will immediately take all the necessary measures to find the perpetrator(s).

If applicable, keep your clothing and damaged items as evidence.

RAPE OR ATTEMPTED RAPE

Every police officer has been trained in dealing sensitively with victims of rape or attempted rape. Where possible, women will be assisted by female officers.

  • In order to preserve evidence, do not wash yourself.
  • Keep your clothing in a paper bag.

If there is a possibility that narcotic substances (knockout drops) have been administered, a medical analysis must be carried out as quickly as possible. As these substances remain in the body for an extremely short period time, they are unlikely to be detected after 6 to 8 hours in blood and after 8 to 12 hours in urine. 

SEXUAL ASSAULT OF MINORS

The sexual abuse of a child can be notified by filing a complaint with the Police or Public Prosecutor's Office, providing a description of a third party to the Police or Public Prosecutor's Office, or through rumours of suspected abuse that reach the Police or Public Prosecutor's Office.

In principle, all police officers can investigate such cases, but sexual abuse cases are generally managed by a specialist youth protection officer.

The investigators try to ensure that the young victim is supported appropriately:

  • The child is interviewed with their trusted person in a setting suitable for children;
  • If necessary, the investigator will visit the child in a familiar setting, such as their school, home, etc. 

In principle, the interview takes place in a setting favourable to the victim and, if the victim is a minor, they can be accompanied by an adult of their choice. An audio or audiovisual recording of the interview of a child or witness must be made, on the authorisation of the State Prosecutor. The consent of the witness or minor must be obtained prior to the recording. The audio or audiovisual recording may be played at the hearing and the witness or minor concerned will only be interviewed again on the express decision of the court.

The investigators ensure the victim is examined as soon as possible, either by a doctor from an organisation that deals solely with victims of sexual abuse, or by the paediatrics department of a hospital that has doctors and nurses specially trained in this field.

If the abuse is ongoing, the investigators must immediately inform the Public Prosecutor's Office, which will decide on the next steps: arrest of the perpetrator, referral to the investigating judge, etc. If the abuse is no longer ongoing, the investigators inform the Public Prosecutor's Office, either by memorandum or report. The Public Prosecutor's Office must decide on the next steps: continuation of the preliminary investigation, referral to the investigating judge in order to obtain a search warrant, a warrant to bring the accused before the investigating judge, expert opinions, etc.

For cases of sexual assault of a child, an emergency protection order is often required:

  • to prevent further assault,
  • and particularly to prevent immediate pressure being placed on a victim who has dared to break their silence, at least in the initial stages of the police investigation.

If it is thought that the child's health is in danger, even if the abuse is not ongoing, the investigator will immediately notify the Public Prosecutor's Office, which can issue a temporary custody order to protect the child. The youth judge then orders a welfare report on the child's environment by a specialist service (Central Social Assistance Service - SCAS).

During the police investigation, the youth protection department of the Public Prosecutor's Office, the investigating judge and the youth judge are kept informed by the investigators.

The information gathered by the Police, as well as the information in the welfare report, enables the youth judge to make a decision in the interests of the child, such as a protection order, individual or family therapy order, etc.

Last update