Portugal: Information regarding assistance, protection or redress available to women who are victims of domestic abuse, the police process for filing a complaint, and follow-up by police and courts
|Publisher||Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada|
|Author||Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada|
|Publication Date||1 March 1994|
|Citation / Document Symbol||PRT16951.E|
|Cite as||Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Portugal: Information regarding assistance, protection or redress available to women who are victims of domestic abuse, the police process for filing a complaint, and follow-up by police and courts, 1 March 1994, PRT16951.E, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/3ae6ab6310.html [accessed 20 June 2013]|
|Disclaimer||This is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.|
According to a representative of the Commission for Equality and Women's Rights (Comissao para a igualdade e para os direitos das mulheres) in Lisbon, domestic violence is forbidden and punishable under Portuguese laws (28 Mar. 1994). However, this source indicated that women are reluctant to report domestic violence to the police out of embarrassment and shame (ibid.). She further indicated that once a report is filed, the police must investigate the incident (ibid.). She said that the police commonly try to discourage women from making a complaint, hence, encouraging women to return to the family home (ibid.). This source also stated that if the case is brought to court, justice will be carried out (ibid.).
The representative indicated that the Commission for Equality and Women's Rights, a government-sponsored organization, provides legal information for women victims of domestic violence (ibid.). She also mentioned the existence of a non-governmental organization called "Women Against Violence" which deals specifically with issues regarding women victims of violence. It provides psychological support and legal information to women victims of domestic violence (ibid.). She also indicated that although there are organizations helping these women, the number of centres providing relief is insufficient (ibid.).
Country reports for 1993 corroborates the information provided by the representative of the Commission for Equality and Women's Rights on the existence of criminal penalties, the lack of institutions providing relief for battered women and also, the overall willingness of the judicial system to prosecute those accused of abusing women (ibid., 1007-8). The same source further indicates that traditional attitudes generally discourage abused women from seeking recourse within the judicial system, and states that women groups in Portugal report that domestic violence is a hidden problem within the country (1994, 1007-08).
For information on the Commission for Equality and Women's Rights and other women organizations in Portugal, please consult the attached documents.
This response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the DIRB within time constraints. This response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum.
Commission for Equality and Women's Rights, Lisbon. 25 March 1994. Telephone interview with representative.
Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 1993. 1994. United State Department of State. Washington, DC : United States Government Printing Office.
Encyclopedia of Women's Associations Worldwide. 1993. Edited by Jacqueline K. Barrett. London: Gale Research International Ltd., pp. 218-19.
Women's Movements of the World: An International Directory and Reference Guide. 1988. Edited by Sally Shreir. London: Longman Group UK Ltd, pp. 222-25.