“Violence does not stop by itself. Contact 1712 and make the difference.” With that message, helpline 1712 is fighting against family violence. In the new campaign, the organization focuses on bystanders and witnesses of family violence in Brussels.
Two out of three contacts with 1712 are neighbours, friends of family. They know the couple’s family personally. Yet people often hesitate to report the violence. “They are unsure about the help of the facts, afraid of the seriousness of finding that they should not interfere in someone’s private life”, Wim Van de Voorde, Flemish coordinator of the do not occur. “That’s not true, because at 1712 you can go anonymously and free of charge for a supportive conversation, information, advice-oriented person.”
The ad will circulate on social media and television for four weeks and shows a family quarrel. The scene is set at the Atomium, a symbolic choice to increase identification for the Brussels resident. It is the first campaign in Brussels and wants to make the helpline known mainly to Dutch-speaking inhabitants of Brussels. In addition to the ad, posters will also be put up to get the message across.
“Brussels is the countless groups, hands and nationalities. If we do not look away from violence, abuse and child abuse in Brussels, we will all contribute to a safer, warmer and more caring city,” said Van de Voorde.
Behind the facades
Family violence is more common in Brussels than people think. Every year, the police prepare about 3,000 PVs. “The violence takes place behind the facades without ever taking the step to the police or the emergency services. Not daring to take this step, bystanders can really make a difference,” says Wim Van de Voorde.
“This campaign is an important initiative in the fight against domestic violence,” said Flemish Justice Minister Zuhal Demir (N-VA). “Because although your own home should be a place of security, family dramas take place behind many facades once the door is locked. Friends, neighbors and family closest to the experiences are often the first to discover the framework of mental distress. Therefore: if you see something, don’t turn a blind eye. Talk about it. With the victim in the first place, with the emergency services if there is no other option. We are obliged to do that.”