Domestic Violence

Global estimates published by WHO in November 2017, indicate that about 1 in 3 (35%) of women worldwide have experienced either physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence in their lifetime. In Europe it states at 1 in 5

According to recent figures in Portugal, domestic violence

  • Second most reported crime amounting to 8% of all crime
  • 84% of victims were female
  • 23% of cases there were previous incidence of violence
  • Tragically in 35% of cases these were witnessed by children
  • 78% victims and perpetrators current or formerly partners
  • 2019 – 29,400 cases up 11.5% (1)

Difference between domestic abuse and domestic violence

Domestic abuse as an incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive, threatening, degrading and violent behaviour, including sexual violence

Some examples of domestic abuse:

  • Shows extreme jealousy of your friends and time spent away
  • Keeps you or discourages you from seeing friends or family members
  • Insults, demeans or shames you with put-downs
  • Controls every penny spent in the household, or takes your money
  • Looks at you or acts in ways that scare you
  • Controls who you see, where you go, or what you do
  • Prevents you from making your own decisions

The crime of domestic violence was introduced into the Portuguese penal code in 2007.

Art. No. 152 of the Penal Code (Law 59/2007, of September 4 with the amendment of article 152 of the Law No. 19/2013 of 21 February

Domestic violence is a public crime

Anyone can file a complaint / complaint with the PSP, GNR, Judiciary Police, Public Prosecutor or Legal Medicine Institute. Also via the internet through the Electronic Complaint System.

Whether the victim lodges a complaint or not, a complaint / complaint or knowledge of the crime is sufficient for the authorities to act and for an investigation to be opened.

Rights of Victims

Victim status involves the following rights:

  • Right to Information
  • The victim has the right to be informed about:
    • The services and / or organizations to which you can go to get support and what kind of support you can receive;
    • The procedures following the complaint and what their role within them;
    • How and under what terms can you receive protection, namely police, procedural and psychosocial approach appropriate to your case and proportional to your needs;
    • The modalities of legal protection to which can access: legal advice, support judicial and other forms of counselling provided by law.

Victims of domestic violence are entitled to receive cash benefits from the State whenever, as a consequence of the crime of domestic violence, they find themselves in a situation of serious financial hardship

Victim support

  • APAV Support offices provide support. Victims can use the internet and the telephone and receive support which includes:
    • Emotional support immediately after the crime is committed;
    • Timely psychological support to the victims, their friends and relatives;
    • Legal advice about their rights in each stage of criminal proceedings;
    • Having a support professional accompanying the victim to police stations or other services;

In cases where the victim is a tourists APAV can provide help in: contacting airlines to cancel or reschedule flight tickets and contacting relatives in their country of origin.

Getting help


There are number of organisations in Portugal where help can be obtained.