The Belgian Sexual Assault Care Centres: from piloting to evaluation

The Belgian Sexual Assault Care Centres: from piloting to evaluation

Subsequent to ICRH’s feasibility study on the development and validation of a model of holistic care for victims of sexual violence in Belgium, the Federal State Secretary of Equality assigned ICRH to pilot and evaluate Sexual Assault Care Centres (SACC) in Ghent, Brussels and Liège. 
Within a close partnership of hospitals, the police, public prosecution and psychosocial services, SACCs offer comprehensive psychological, forensic and medical care upon sexual violence. The forensic nurse is the key person in the provision of the acute comprehensive care and the coordination of the pluri-disciplinary follow-up care consisting of specific medical and psychological care and overall case management including judicial support. Clinical psychologists assess mental health needs and provide trauma-focused therapy while trained vice inspectors perform an interrogation at the SACC for those victims wishing to file a complaint.
ICRH  prepared and coordinated the implementation of the piloting of the SACCs, firstly by developing the care pathways and translating those into standard operating procedures and tools for SACC personnel, defining of their job profiles and provision of their training of SACC personnel and secondly by monitoring the implementation process in collaboration with the stakeholders.
Subsequently, ICRH scientifically evaluated the acceptability of the SACC model and provided services through a mixed-methods approach, taking into account the perspective of victims, SACC personnel and other stakeholders. The scientific evaluation report of March 2019 led in turn to recommendations for the adaptation and the announcement of scale-up of the Belgian SACCs. ICRH is giving further support in translating these recommendations into practice among others through the development of a Belgian SACC manual which will set out all standards and standard operating procedures of the SACCs; through training of SACC personnel, and the finalization of a SACC registration database. 

PIctures: ©Thomas Verfaille

Funding agencies

Federal Government


Saar Baert Jana Verplancke Prof dr Ines Keygnaert


Prof. dr. Ines Keygnaert


The Institute for the Equality of Women and Men The Federal Government and their administration Ghent University Hospital Medical University Centre St Pieters University Hospital of Liège The Police of Ghent, of Eastern Flanders, of Brussels Capital-Elsene and of Liège The public prosecutors of Eastern Flanders, Brussels and Liège The Belgian DNA-labs and forensic experts Services for mental health and psychosocial support, for judicial support, for support upon child maltreatment,… And many more

The Belgian Sexual Assault Care Centres: from piloting to evaluation
The Belgian Sexual Assault Care Centres: from piloting to evaluation