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03/07/23 supports Van Espen family's message lauds the nuanced and positive nature of the Van Espen family's letter to the Parliamentary Committee on Justice at the end of April. will explain in the hearing of the Parliamentary Committee on 4 July that one of the ways we support the Van Espen family's message is through our efforts in establishing and rolling out care centres after sexual violence., together with other actors within justice, immediately set to work to provide lawyers and caregivers with thorough and free training to assist victims of sexual violence with expertise. 229 lawyers already followed that training. Within these care centres, the main focus is on adequate legal assistance that has an eye for the special vulnerability of victims after sexual violence. donated the registration fee that lawyers paid for this training, already more than 30 000 euros, to the care centres.

All those lawyers are now very well trained to assist victims of sexual violence appropriately. They have learnt how to help and guide victims mentally through the legal proceedings and in this way, those lawyers also contribute to a victim's coping process.
Erik Schellingen, director

Mr Van Espen sets out priorities that is also asking for. For example, Mr Van Espen asks that the digitisation of criminal files be pushed even further. This is a very justified demand that has also been pushing for years. Not only does it mean efficiency gains for lawyers, but litigants also benefit, both in terms of time and financially.

In short, is and will continue to be committed to efficient and fair justice. After all, there are still important yards ahead that can make a difference. For instance, the rewriting of the Criminal Code and the Code of Criminal Procedure will be crucial. is happy to put its shoulder to the wheel here too.

Making Justice more efficient by working together is a priority for

Background info

  • On 4 July 2023 at 10 am, Mr Alex Buelens will speak on behalf of at the hearing of the Parliamentary Committee on Justice. Mr Buelens is a lawyer at the Antwerp Bar Association and he is part of the criminal law committee at
  • At the end of April, the Van Espen family, including father Erik Van Espen, wrote an open letter to all competent ministers, party chairmen and the chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Justice. The letter contained all kinds of questions and suggestions for improvements in efficiency and cooperation within the Justice Department. Together with the Van Espen family, looks back on the past years and the progress of the points of attention that Mr Van Espen already made known in 2020.
  • Julie Van Espen was raped and murdered in May 2019 by Steve Bakelmans, a man who had been convicted of rape but was at large pending the hearing of his appeal trial.

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