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Brussels police offered free training to combat harassment on the streets

14:47 08/09/2020

From this autumn, police working in the Brussels-North zone (Schaerbeek, Evere and Saint Josse-ten-Noode) will receive a day’s training on how to stop street harassment. The course will be given in collaboration with the association “Touche Pas à Ma Pote” (Don’t touch my friend), the police service has announced.

The aim is to better understand and apply the 2014 law on street harassment – primarily sexual harassment from men to women, including unwanted comments, gestures, honking or wolf-whistling. “Often the victims hesitate to make a complaint and policemen find it difficult to correctly identify what happened and so better respond to the victims’ expectations,” said Brussels-North police zone head of staff, Frédéric Dauphin. He emphasised that this was particularly true when harassment did not mean physical violence.

Schaerbeek mayor Cécile Jodogne agreed: “Violence against women and notably street harassment is a reality and one that we must fight against strongly.” And as president for the police zone and also as a woman, “this is a priority,” she added.

The training will allow police officers to spot street aggression and pay attention to sexist insults. The aim is to improve community life on the streets, which is important, as this phenomenon can lead to women deserting open spaces.

Training, in four modules, will include a debate on the phenomenon, as well as advice on how to deal with a victim and write up case reports.  

The budget allocated to the training days is €36,000.

Written by Liz Newmark