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Rape in Belgium

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Rape in Belgium

Belgium is regarded to be one of the countries with the highest rate of rape.[1] In 2004, the incidence of rapes recorded by the police was 28.4 per 100,000 people, according to data by UNODC; in 2008 it was 29.5 per 100,000 people.[2]


Rape in Belgium is defined by Article 375 of the Penal Code as "any act of sexual penetration, of whatever sort and by whatever means, committed on a non-consenting person".[3][4] Marital rape is also illegal under this law.[3]

Apart from criminal proceedings, committing marital rape has also consequences in a divorce case. The new amendments to the Civil Code regulating marriage and divorce, that came into effect in September 2007, state that any of the spouses, following a divorce, may receive alimony if they need the money, but a spouse who has committed rape or other violent crimes against the other spouse cannot receive alimony. Article 301 reads:
The court may refuse to grant the application for a alimony if the defendant proves that the applicant has committed a serious offense that rendered it impossible to continue living together. Under no circumstances will alimony be given to a spouse who was found guilty of an act referred to in Articles 375, 398-400, 402, 403 or 405 of the Penal Code, committed against the person of the defendant, or an attempt to commit an act referred to in Articles 375, 393, 394 or 397 of the Code against the same person.[5]


In 2011, Belgian Institute for the Equality of Women and Men published a report on "Women and men in Belgium", which noted that in 2008, according to police report, 87% of victims of rape (89% for collective rape) were female.[6] The survey, carried out by Belgian Institute and titled Experience of men and women in gender based violence, included the following figures;

Relation Women Men Total
Partner 30.8% 5.7% 17.5%
Family 27.4% 16.2% 21.5%
Acquaintance 11.3% 15.8% 13.6%
Work 17.2% 21.9% 19.7%
Unknown 13.3% 40.4% 27.7%

According to [1]

According to a report by De Standaard, the sentences for rape is considerably lower than it is usually expected. For example, A person who had raped his 13-year-old stepdaughter was sentenced to 2.5 years. In another case, the criminal was sentenced to two years for repeated rape of two girls younger than 15; one of the victims was pregnant.[7]

See also


  1. ^ a b
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  5. ^ Text in French: "Le tribunal peut refuser de faire droit à la demande de pension si le défendeur prouve que le demandeur a commis une faute grave ayant rendu impossible la poursuite de la vie commune. En aucun cas, la pension alimentaire n'est accordée au conjoint reconnu coupable d'un fait visé aux articles 375, 398 à 400, 402, 403 ou 405 du Code pénal, commis contre la personne du défendeur, ou d'une tentative de commettre un fait visé aux articles 375, 393, 394 ou 397 du même Code contre cette même personne."[1]
  6. ^
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