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Migrant women and domestic violence in Belgium

The report ‘The Law was Against Me’: Migrant Women’s Access to Protection for Family Violence in Belgium’ found three major protection gaps for migrant women who experience domestic violence in Belgium. Women who migrate to Belgium to join a husband or partner may face deportation if they report the violence during the period when their status is being confirmed, as do undocumented migrant women. And domestic violence victims, especially undocumented women, lack adequate access to shelters.

Even though Belgium has passed laws and adopted policies to prevent, investigate, and prosecute domestic violence and protect victims, including a National Action Plan.  it has not yet fully addressed the gaps for migrant women.

Liesl Gerntholtz, women’s rights director at Human Rights Watch said tha thhe women they interviewed face a terrible choice: endure abuse at the hands of a partner, or report the violence and risk deportation and that “Belgium needs to make sure that every woman who experiences domestic violence can get the help she needs, regardless of migrant status”.

The report contains recommendations to the federal government, regions, and community authorities.

Source: Human Rights Watch

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