is criminalized in the 1997 Penal Code.
A series of subsequent additions have been added to reinforce the rights of domestic violence victims: these include the 2003 law granting the joint residence of the couple to the legal victim of domestic violence (also complimented by article 410 of the Penal Code),
and the 2012 law which introduces temporary restraining orders against a potentially violent partner preventing them from approaching the family home in case of threats of violence.
Belgium adopted a National Action Plan against domestic violence (2004-2007) which included components such as awareness-raising, training, prevention, victim protection, and evaluation of actions.
In 2006, two directives came to reinforce existing measures against violence within the family, and especially domestic violence. These directives aim to develop a uniform identification and recording system for the police and tribunals, determine the minimal measures that will be applied in all judiciary areas of the country and propose instruments to the actors of the police and justice system to support their work.
A third National Action Plan for Domestic violence (PAN) was approved in 2008. It included immediate action for the perpetrators such as prevention to avoid repetition of the same offence, protection of victims, reinforcement of the coordination among the different actors involved and prevention of violence through awareness-raising. Also, a national website was launched in 2009 on the topic of domestic violence.
On 23 November 2010, a fourth National Action Plan for domestic violence and other types of violence within the family was approved for 2010-2014. An update of this National Action Plan was approved on 10 June 2013: domestic violence remains a priority, and its scope was enlarged to include other types of violence such as forced marriage, violence related to honour issues and female genital mutilation.
Belgium has signed but not yet ratified the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence.
Between 2007 and 2010, there was an increase in reported cases of domestic violence, which may be the result of public efforts to increase media and awareness. In 2012, there were 41, 533 reported cases of domestic violence: 20 370 for physical violence, 19 616 for psychological violence, 1 430 for economic violence and 117 for sexual violence.
is penalized in the 1989 Law and defined as “any act of sexual penetration, of whatever sort and by whatever means, committed on a non-consenting person”. Rape within marriage is also punishable by law. The law also amended the applicable penalties and the definition of aggravating circumstances, and introduced a number of procedural changes.
Minimum penalty for rape is 10 years with a maximum of 30 years depending on such factors as the age of the victim, the difference in age between offender and victim, the relationship between the pair, and the use or absence of violence during the crime. 
The “Set Agression Sexuelle” was adopted on 15 September 2005 and aims to guarantee the quality of investigations related to cases of rape or sexual violence and to limit related psychological issues. The Walloon region took many initiatives to accompany victims of domestic violence in terms of providing shelter and moral support.
legislation was reinforced in 2014 by a series of laws enacted in 2014 aimed at preventing psychosocial risks in the workplace.
. These laws cover staff training, imposing obligations on employers to act in cases of a complaint, and the establishment of a prevention advisor. They also allow the victim to ask for a fixed-sum compensation for the injury suffered. Before that, the victim had to prove the extent of the damage and the causal relationship between the behaviour and the damage.
Among the cases of « unwanted behaviour in the workplace » filed in 2013 there were 290 complaints for harassment, 50 for violence, and 37 for unwanted sexual behaviour in the workplace. Among the complaints between 2007 and 2009, approximately 4% of the complaints (formal and informal) were related to offences of sexual harassment in the workplace by the employer. From 2003 to 2010, 4.2% of the cases invoked in the Labour Court were related to sexual harassment.
A 2010 study by the Federal Institute for Gender Equality (Institut pour l’Égalité des Femmes et des Hommes) reveals that verbal abuse is by far the most common form of abuse (41.5%), followed by intimidation (22%), and then striking someone (15%). Sexual abuse mostly affects women (5.6% against 0.8% men), and they are also the ones who are locked up or kicked out most frequently (5.9% against 2.7% for men). Men are more often victims of verbal abuse and beatings than women and face a very similar degree of intimidation. Among female victims, there is, however, a higher incidence of partner abuse and violent situations, while male victims more commonly witness isolated acts of abuse committed by an unknown perpetrator. Victims of abuse only file a complaint in a minority of cases: 13.9% of female victims and 9.8% of male victims make a statement to the police. This percentage is even lower when the perpetrator is a relative (6.2%), but is higher if the perpetrator is a partner (17.9%) and is highest when the perpetrator is unknown (21.1%).According to the results from the EU-wide survey on violence against women led by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights, 24% of women have indicated that they were victims of physical and/or sexual violence inflicted by their partners or former partners since they were 15 years old. Also, 36% of women were victims of physical and sexual violence, regardless of who the perpetrator was. In addition, 24% of women said they had been victims of stalking and 60% of sexual harassment since they were 15 years old. Finally, 14% of women were victims of sexual violence before they were 15 years old.
Article 409 of the Penal Code criminalises female genital mutilation. Perpetrators face three to five years in prison. If the victim is less than 18 years old, punishment for perpetrators extends to imprisonment for five to seven years. If the practice incapacitated the victim, perpetrators face up to ten years of imprisonment. If the victim dies as a consequence of undergoing the practice, perpetrators face from ten to fifteen years in prison.
According to a recent study by the Fédéral Santé publique, at the end of 2012 it was estimated that 13,112 girls and women probably have undergone FGM, while 4,084 were at risk of undergoing the practice. This represents a sharp increase in the numbers, as in 2008 it was estimated that 6,260 women and girls had undergone the practice, and 1,975 were at risk.
Women have a right to abortion during the first twelve weeks of pregnancy. A commission was created on 13 August 1990 with the mission to evaluate the application of the 3 April 1990 Law on abortion. The “Commission nationale d’évaluation d’interruption volontaire de grossesse” makes sure that any medical developments are taken into account when the law is applied, and it drafts a report every two years for the Belgian Parliament, where it can put forth recommendations to modify the law as necessary (for example to decrease the number of abortions and/or improve guidance given to women wanting to abort).
 The UN Secretary-General’s database on violence against women, Law to combat violence between partners 1997  The UN Secretary-General’s database on violence against women, Law to combat violence between partners 1997  Loi du 15 mai 2012 relative à l’interdiction temporaire de résidence en cas de violence domestique.  Member state questionnaires for 15th anniversary of Beijing Platform for Action (2009)  Member state questionnaires for 15th anniversary of Beijing Platform for Action  Member state questionnaires for 15th anniversary of Beijing Platform for Action  Institut pour l’Égalité des Femmes et Hommes (2009) ; Plan d’Action National de Lutte contre la Violence entre Partenaires et d’Autres Formes de Violences Intrafamiliales 2010-2014  The UN Secretary-General’s database on violence against women, Law of 4 July 1989 amending certain provisions concerning the crime of rape United States Department of State, 2012 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices – Belgium, 19 April 2013  Member state questionnaires for 15th anniversary of Beijing Platform for Action  La loi du 28 février 2014 complétant la loi du 4 août 1996 relative au bien-être des travailleurs lors de l’exécution de leur travail quant à la prévention des risques psychosociaux au travail dont, notamment, la violence et le harcèlement moral ou sexuel au travail (M.B. du 28 avril 2014)  Institut pour l’Égalité des Femmes et Hommes (2010), « Emotional, Physical and Sexual Abuse – The Experiences of Women and Men »  European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (2014), http://fra.europa.eu/en/publication/2014/vaw-survey-main-results [accessed 05/06/2014]  Penal Code (n.d.), article 409  Service Public Fédéral (2014), Etude de prévalence des femmes excisées et des filles à risque d’excision en Belgique (résumé  Royaume de Belgique, Moniteur belge (1990), Loi relative à l’interruption volontaire de grossesse  Service Public Fédéral (n.d.), Interruption Volontaire de Grossesse (IVG)