The figure comes from the Equal Opportunities Centre. In all 39,746 incidents involving violent behaviour by a husband, wife, girlfriend, boyfriend or partner were reported in 2013. Reports often come very late in the day. On average only after 35 violent instances.
Though women too can turn violent, most of the victims are believed to be womem. Police do not keep records out of privacy concerns.
The Belgian death toll is high by international standards. The total, 162, is higher than the total number of deaths from domestic violence in countries like Spain or France.
Marijke Weewouters of the Institute for the Equality of Men and Women: "People are wary of reporting an incident. Only 3.3% of incidents are reported. Often there is a cycle of violence. There are violent incidents interspersed with periods when the couple get on well."
Often the police are only contacted when violence reaches a level that poses a threat to life and limb. In eighty percent of cases children too are exposed to violence. 45% of these children risk becoming victims or perpetrators themselves later on.