Violence

Violence can take many forms: hair pulling, rough sex, clients who refuse to pay, violate your boundaries and/or privacy, stalking, sexual assault, rape, humiliation, extortion, etc.

You can never tell whether a customer is going to be violent. Below are some tips to reduce the risk of violence.

Sexual violence

Sexual violence includes unwanted touching or groping, unwanted kissing and rape. These are all serious forms of sexual violence and a criminal offence. You are not to blame even if you were under the influence of alcohol or drugs, flirting, unable to fight back, or to say no or wearing ‘suggestive’ clothes. Sexual assault or rape is when you did not give your explicit consent to engage in a sexual activity. The responsibility lies with the perpetrator. 

What can you do?

  1. Try to get yourself to safety first. Get to a place where you feel safe.
  2. Are you afraid of the perpetrator, are you afraid that you will not be believed? Do you feel guilty or full of shame? Try to confide in a friend or family member, talk about what happened.
  3. You can also ask Violett for help. Our emergency counsellors can give you information about and possibly support you with reporting the incident to the police.
  4. You can call Tele-Onthaal, a free helpline in complete confidence. Dial 106, this free helpline is available 24/7. Calls are anonymous and do not appear on your phone bill. You can also get support via their Live Chat Helpline. This service is also completely anonymous.
  5. Call the 1712 Helpline. Dial 1712. This free helpline can be reached on weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The call will not appear on your phone bill.

Report the accicent as soon as possible! 

If you want to file a complaint, you must go to the police as soon as possible after the incident or call them on 112. It sometimes makes sense that you or other victims of sexual assault report the incident some months, or even years after the assault took place.

You may not want to report the assault to the police. However, you must see a doctor or a go to a hospital for a physical examination. Doctors have an ethical and legal duty to respect patient confidentiality and cannot disclose patient information to the police or your family. The findings of this physical examination are very important if you decide to take the matter further at a later stage: e.g. if you need a certificate of incapacity for work, or if you want to claim compensation.

Some Belgian hospitals have a Zorgcentrum na Seksueel Geweld (Care Centre after Sexual Violence) (ZSG). They provide medical, forensic and psychological help, 24/7. There is such a care centre in Ghent, Brussels and Liège. 

It is important to preserve the evidence after sexual violence. Here are some tips on how to do this as carefully as possible:

  • Visit a doctor, hospital or Care Centre after Sexual Violence. It is important that you do this within 72 hours. After 72 hours, traces for forensic analysis may be lost or contaminated.
  • Don’t wash or shower.
  • Do not drink or rinse your mouth if there was oral contact.
  • Try to refrain from urinating.  If you can’t, urinate in a jar.
  • Avoid physical contact with other people.
  • Do not change clothes but if you must, put the clothes you were wearing during the sexual violence in paper bags. DO NOT use plastic bags. Also bring the sheets upon which the assault took place, and which may hold traces (e.g. semen). If, after the assault, you have used a paper handkerchief or something else to clean yourself, or have put a sanitary towel in your underwear, place all the evidence in a paper bag and take it with you when you go to report the incident.

For more information about The Care Centres after Sexual Violence (ZSG), please consult.

Tips

  • Set clear boundaries with your client in advance: explain what you do and don’t do?
  • Always follow your instincts. If you feel uneasy, leave or send the client away.
  • If you talk to a client on the phone beforehand, pay close attention to his voice. If it doesn’t feel good, refuse his custom.
  • Get paid in advance. If you receive clients at home, keep the money hidden from view, hide it in different places.
  • Do you visit a client at home, or do you meet at a hotel? Always keep your handbag and your money in sight.
  • Refuse customers who are under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • Possibly take a course in self-defence.
  • If you visit someone at home, check whether the person locks the door or hides the keys. You can say that you don't like this. Walk around and note where the exits are.
  • See if there are other people present. If so, ask why.
  • Try to work out if there are webcams or cameras. If this is the case, ask why and if you feel uneasy, leave.
  • To avoid stalking, keep your personal life separate from work. Never give your real name and don't talk about your personal life. Never leave your handbag unattended, to prevent the client finding out your real name.
  • If possible, park your car away from the place you are meeting the client to avoid them finding out your personal information via your license plate.

Would you like to talk to a Violett counsellor about these issues?

For general questions, for a visit to the doctor, for social help,...
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Antwerp
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Currently we only work by appointment. Call 03 293 95 91.

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Gent
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Currently we only work by appointment. Call 09 233 47 67.

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For general help and social assistance:

Monday/Tuesday13.00 - 17.00Wednesday/Thursday13.00 - 17.00Friday10.00 - 14.00

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