New legal status would support victims of terrorism


A proposal by the federal health minister would mean victims of attacks such as those in Brussels last March would receive a recovery pension and lifelong free medical treatment

‘Collective problem’

The federal parliament is to consider a proposal to give a new legal status to the victims of terrorism, according to justice minister Koen Geens. The proposal by health minister Maggie De Block would allow victims a recovery pension and lifelong free medical treatment.

Last week, the parliamentary investigative commission on the Brussels terror attacks of March last year heard criticism from victims about the treatment they had received from various government bodies.

Victims told how they had been given no assistance in contacting the right service, had not been told what help was available and were not advised what documents to provide. “We had to do everything for ourselves. That’s simply inhuman,” said one.

According to Geens, speaking on the weekend politics programme De zevende dag, if another attack happened in future he would advise setting up a federal taskforce to include the language communities and the insurance industry.

“There should be 10 people sitting there day after day handling cases,” he said. Many of the problems described by the victims were a matter for insurance companies and not the government, he pointed out.

“I understand that the insurance companies don’t have it easy, because we’re dealing with large sums here,” he said. “It’s the same problem, though, for every victim of a crime or an accident, only in this case it’s a collective problem.”