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CPAS protests at proposed law to lift confidentiality

17:29 16/02/2017

The directors of the 19 municipal welfare agencies (CPAS) in Brussels are taking to the streets today in protest against a proposed new law that would strip social workers of their professional confidentiality in cases of suspected terrorism. The bill, proposed by N-VA, came up for a vote in the federal parliament on Thursday.

The collective of directors has described the proposal as “pointless and dangerous”. Their counterparts in Flanders and Wallonia have expressed similar concerns.

They point out that the law as it exists obliges them to report, despite professional confidentiality, cases involving criminal activity or danger to the people they are involved with. They also fear legal action in the case where the new law’s “serious indications” turn out not to be serious enough.

“It’s important to combat terrorism, but not in this way,” Roland Vandenhove, CPAS chair in Molenbeek, told Bruzz. “This is a danger to the bond between social workers and their clients.”

The protest is due to take place today at 13.30 in front of the Justice Palace in Brussels. The social workers will be joined by a delegation from anti-poverty group Netwerk tegen armoede.

“Some cases do have to be tracked, but the existing law works well enough,” a spokesperson said. “There is no need to risk confidentiality.”

Photo: ImageGlobePlus/BELGA

Written by Alan Hope