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Charity sees big rise in calls from expats and others

The much-needed charity for Belgium’s English-speaking community has seen an enormous rise in referrals over the past two years.

The Community Help Service is based in Brussels and offers a 24-hour helpline for anyone who feels the need to talk to someone about a personal issue, including mental health.

This unique service provides English-speaking counselling. This service is available to not only British expats, but also many other English-speaking nationalities living in Belgium.

Stephen Mazurkiewicz from the CHS says that the service saw a significant increase in calls during the pandemic.


Stephen stated that there had been a significant rise in volunteers who, despite being volunteers, tried to help people in need.

According to the CHS, there are many reasons for this rise, including health crises. However, the fact that calls have increased so much suggests that the service is “never more needed than now”, he stated.

“The CHS is essential for the expat community as well as many other people in Belgium.”


Stephen, the treasurer of CHS, stated that it is funded entirely by voluntary donations.

The Belgian charity Child Focus has received EUR2,500 from the Brussels British Community Association (or BBCA).

Child Focus is the Belgian Foundation for Missing and Sexually Exploited children. The Dutroux-case, which occurred 25 years ago, was a shocking and traumatic incident that affected the entire country. Marc Dutroux kidnapped and exploited three girls. Sixteen girls aged between 8 and 17. Four of them were murdered by him. Belgium, outraged and shocked, formed the White March.

Child Focus was established to support survivors and parents, but also to advocate for change.

The charity’s spokesperson said that the promise they made 25 years ago is still what sustains them today. “We will never leave victims alone again. They will always have our support. We will always be there for them. 24/7.

Child Focus invests in prevention of these phenomenons. Children are not victims of this crime. We have spent a lot time and effort trying to stop them. The sexual exploitation of children has drastically changed. It has changed. It went from online to offline. Or a combination of both. Online sexual exploitation has become one of our main topics. It is both operational and preventative. These topics are easily accessible to children, their parents, teachers, and social workers thanks to a variety of resources and tools. It can be difficult to talk about eSafety and sexting, grooming, or sextortion.

We make it our mission, therefore, to create and shape this dialogue. We are not afraid to discuss difficult topics such as child sexual abuse or the exploitation of minors in prostitution. We give words to these phenomena, carefully chosen words, in order to bring them to light.

Glenn Vaughan from the BBCA stated that they do not raise money for things that many people can afford, but for worthy causes like Child Focus.

“This charity is very important in Belgium. We want to help not only our community, but also the Belgian host community. Many of us arrived in Belgium hoping to stay for a few more years, but we ended up staying much longer. It’s a wonderful place to live, and Belgium has made it a home for us. This is why we always try to help our host country.

More information can be found here.

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