In a recent development, the Flemish legislature created a legal basis for the processing of personal data by organizations under the jurisdiction of the Flemish Community or the Flemish Region when participating in case consultations based on Article 458ter of the Criminal Code.
Fighting Violence, Child Abuse and Crime
Section 458ter Sw. provides a legal framework for structured consultation moments between social workers, police and the judiciary, with the aim of addressing various challenges, such as intrafamily violence, child abuse, prevention of terrorist crimes and criminal organizations. This article specifically provides the opportunity to break professional secrecy and exchange information during such case consultations.
Flemish Decree Guarantees GDPR Compliance for Personal Data Exchange during Case Consultation
Although Section 458ter of the Sw. provides the regulatory framework for breaking professional secrecy, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) must also be taken into account when exchanging personal data.
For this reason, the Flemish decree maker has provided an appropriate legal basis for the processing and exchange of personal data during case consultations by organizations under the jurisdiction of the Flemish community or the Flemish region. This includes courthouses, local governments, the Flemish Electronic Surveillance Center and pupil guidance centers.
Exceptions and Federal Government for Personal Data Processing during Case Consultation
However, the decree does not apply to police services, the public prosecutor’s office, the Directorate General of Penitentiary Institutions (DG EPI) and other federal services, as they fall outside the jurisdiction of the Flemish community and region. For their participation in case consultations and the legal basis for personal data processing, only the federal government can provide a regulation.
Guidelines for Personal Data Processing in the Context of Case Consultation.
The organizations under the competence of the Flemish Community or the Flemish Region may process personal data in the context of multidisciplinary cooperation, provided that certain conditions are met, including the fact that the processing fits within their participation in a case consultation and is necessary to protect the physical and psychological integrity of those involved or to prevent crimes. The processing must also comply with the General Data Protection Regulation.
This decree enters into force on Aug. 18, 2023, and provides a solid legal framework for handling personal data during case consultations in Flanders.