Module 6: International Standards and legal frameworks in Europe

National frameworks

National frameworks, documents for their implementation, and entry points to address domestic violence are shown here.

Germany

Istanbul Convention

October 12, 2017, the Istanbul Convention was ratified in Germany and became law on February 1, 2018. Now, German citizens can base any complaints before German courts directly on the provisions of the Convention. Moreover, an independent group of experts checks whether the obligations arising from the Convention are complied with by the German State. Germany wants to report on legislative and other measures taken to implement the Convention regularly (Bundesgesetzblatt Teil II, 2017; BMFSJ, 12.10.2017).

German Criminal Code (Strafgesetzbuch, StGB)

In Germany, physical violence and some forms of psychological violence fall under the criminal code (Strafgesetzbuch, StGB). In case of fighting violence within families and especially violence against women, the provisions were insufficient. Only since 1997, §177 StGB covers all incidents of rape, whether among married partners or outside married relationships (Steinke, 2017).

There is no precise definition of domestic violence or legislation addressing specific subtypes of domestic violence. In case of domestic violence, the respective offence type has to be defined relating to the StGB, like bodily injury offences (§ 223 ff StGB), insult (§ 185 StGB), imitation (§ 238 StGB), etc. Other criminal offences like libel and slander (§§ 185-187 StGB), etc. can also be considered.

In 2007 the new offence of stalking was inserted into the Criminal Code (Strafgesetzbuch, StGB) under §238.

German Federal Police Laws

Corresponding with the German federal system’s differentiation into federal states (“Bundesländer”), the German police and their respective police laws are applied on a federal level as well. All these police regulations allow the police to expulse an offender from the victim’s home. In contrast to a court order, a police ban on contact is not sanctioned under criminal law, but in certain individual cases it can result in the offender being taken into custody if the ban is disregarded by a perpetrator.

A restraining order can either be imposed by the family court (up to half a year and afterwards possible extension of half a year) or the civil court. An order of proximity and/or residence ban under the Code of Civil Procedure (StPO) is usually limited to one month and must be reapplied for by the victim on his or her own initiative for an extension.

Act to Prohibit Violence in Raising Children

In order to raise awareness of violence against children, the Act to Prohibit Violence in Raising Children (Gesetz zur Ächtung der Gewalt in der Erziehung) came into force in 2002.

It was enacted on November 2, 2000. It is closely related to the objectives of the United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of the Child from 1989 and the National Action Plan for a Child-Friendly Germany.

The law enshrines the right to a non-violent education in section 1631 (2) of the Civil Code:

“Children have the right to a non-violent upbringing. Physical punishments, psychological injuries and other degrading measures are prohibited. “

At the same time, the following sentence was added to Section 16 (1) of the Eighth Book of the Social Code:

“They [offers to promote education] should also point out ways in which conflict situations in the family can be resolved non-violently.”

In 2005, Federal Justice Minister Brigitte Zypries emphasised that the law had led to a change in awareness among the population within five years of its entry into force. A study commissioned by the Federal Ministry of Justice showed that the parenting attitude of parents is increasingly in line with the principle of non-violent education. Outsiders would now be more willing to intervene if necessary, and parents would be more willing to accept offers for help.

Sources:

https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gesetz_zur_%C3%84chtung_von_Gewalt_in_der_Erziehung

https://www.juraforum.de/recht-gesetz/bmj-zum-gesetz-zur-aechtung-der-gewalt-in-der-erziehung-52127

https://www.bgbl.de/xaver/bgbl/start.xav?start=%2F%2F*%5B%40attr_id%3D%27bgbl100s1479.pdf%27%5D#__bgbl__%2F%2F*%5B%40attr_id%3D%27bgbl100s1479.pdf%27%5D__1586857354236

Violence Protection Act

Since 2002, the so-called Violence Protection Act or “Act to improve civil court protection in the event of violence and to facilitate the provision of spouses’ housing in the event of expulsion” provides domestic violence victims with extensive protection (so-called Gewaltschultzgesetz, Gesetz zur Verbesserung des zivilgerichtlichen Schutzes bei Gewalttaten sowie zur Erleichterung der Überlassung der Ehewohnung bei Trennung, GewSchG). The law protects victims of domestic violence primarily by allowing them to use their own home without having to share it with the violent person. In cases where children are abused by their parents, the Violence Protection Act does not apply. The special provisions of the law governing childhood and guardianship, which provide for measures to be taken by the Family Court with the involvement of the youth welfare office, apply accordingly.

Nation-wide helpline ‘Violence against women’

In 2012, the Act to set up a nation-wide helpline ‘Violence against women’ (Gesetz zur Einrichtung eines bundesweiten Hilfetelefons ‘Gewalt gegen Frauen’) was implemented. Since then, the free hotline provides a 24/7 support for women suffering violence. The hotline service works on the basis of anonymity. Qualified counsellors provide help and information on domestic violence centres adjacent to where the women live.

https://www.hilfetelefon.de/

Federal, State, and Municipal Round Table against Violence against Women

The initiation of a “Round Table against Violence against Women” (Runder Tisch von Bund, Ländern und Kommunen gegen Gewalt an Frauen, 2018) is an important step towards improving frontline responder interactions on a political level. The central objective of the talks will be a voluntary commitment by the federal, state and local governments to further develop the support services and improve communication. In addition, the cornerstones for the federal support programme and the examination of more far-reaching federal legal solutions for a uniform approach in emergencies, for example in the form of assumption of costs for accommodation in a women’s shelter or a legal claim to protection and counselling, are to be worked out (BMFSJ, 2018).

Further steps by the German Federal Government

Another current topic of the German Federal Government is the education of (potential) victims, offenders, and bystanders of domestic violence. Three examples of such information efforts are:

(1) Brochure informing on the Violence Protection Act (“Mehr Schutz bei häuslicher Gewalt: Information zum Gewaltschutzgesetz”;BMFSJ & BMJV, 2017),

(2) Brochure informing adolescents about their rights and obligations with regard to being raised by their parents (“Meine Erziehung – da rede ich mit!”; BMJV, 2016),

(3) a campaign informing bystanders or care persons on forms of violence against care-dependant elderly (“#PflegeOhneGewalt”; ZQP, 2016).

Austria

Immediate prohibition of entry and approach to protect against violence

General Information

The police (→ LPD, Landespolizeidirektion in Austria) are authorised to expel a (potential) perpetrator of violence from the apartment in which the endangered person lives, including an area within a radius of 100 m, and to impose a ban on entering. The prohibition to enter is accompanied by a prohibition to approach the endangered person within a radius of 100 m. The district court (→ BMJ) can also order the person to leave the apartment with a temporary injunction.

If the endangered person is an underage minor (i.e., children under the age of 14), the police and those people in whose care the minor is regularly (in schools, childcare facilities) must be informed (if it seems necessary in the individual case), and (if the minor lives in the apartment covered by the prohibition to enter) the local child and youth welfare institution must immediately be contacted and informed about the prohibition of entry and approach.

Requirements

Immediate prohibition of entry and approach presupposes the assumption that “a dangerous attack on life, health or freedom” is imminent.

All persons living in a dwelling are protected, regardless of kinship and ownership.

The police are authorised to take away all keys to the flat from the perpetrator. However, the person concerned must be given the opportunity to take along urgently needed personal belongings.

Additional Information

The prohibition of entry and approach issued by the police is limited to two weeks.

If the person concerned files an application for a temporary injunction with the district court within these two weeks, the prohibition to enter or approach the premises is extended to a maximum of four weeks.

If the expelled person disregards the prohibition to enter or approach the premises, it is recommended to call the police immediately at 133 or 112! The police may arrest the person(s) expelled if they repeatedly disregard(s) the ban on entering and approaching the premises.

In addition, the person in danger must contact a violence prevention centre within five days of the order of a ban on entering or approaching the premises in order to arrange for a violence prevention consultation. The counselling, in which the endangered person must actively participate, must take place within 14 days of the contact.

For Austria’s Ministry of Education and Women, preventing and combating violence against women is a central goal as a part of more general equality politics (cf. NAP 2014, 3). Police work is oriented towards the legislative policy measures for domestic violence, which can be divided into protective orders, criminal law and programs for perpetrators. The protective orders were first implemented in Austria in 1997, as resolved by the Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the European Protection Orders in 2011. The NAP gives an overview of tasks in association with the responsible federal ministries (cf. NAP 2014). Programs for perpetrators as a diversionary measure can be judicially arranged instead of a verdict. For example, victim-offender-mediation (VOM) can be decreed as part of restorative justice. These measures are regulated within the Austrian code of criminal procedure (Strafprozessordnung, StPO). Furthermore, the judge can give judicial instructions for participating in therapy offered by counselling groups for men (“Männerberatung”) and/or joining an anti-violence training (“Anti-Gewalt Training”).

The major goal of the NAP (2014) is the protection of women, children and other people who might become victims of violent crimes in the context of domestic violence. It is embedded in a category of protective orders addressing “the prevention of crime” (Kriminalprävention) and is divided by the Austrian Federal Ministry of the Interior (BMI) into measures addressing “violence in the private sphere” (Gewalt in der Privatsphäre) and the “protection of victims” (Opferschutz). The “private sphere” describes an intimate relationship between people (for example spouses), but also includes the possibility of a violent crime within public spaces. In 2013, the Austrian Federal Ministry of the Interior (BMI) started to focus its attention on the prevention of violence.

A central federal policy for the medical sector is regulated in the guideline “Leitfaden_Gewaltfreileben_Gesundheit” implemented by the project “Living Free Of Violence” (GewaltFREIleben). As a result of this project, victim protection groups were installed in hospitals since 2011 (cf. Project guideline GewaltFREIleben, 43). Their primary aim is to detect victims at an early stage and to sensitise professionals to domestic violence as part of the criminal prevention. Moreover, the groups’ target is to contribute to security within hospitals by interacting with the perpetrators of domestic violence in an informed manner. To increase the safety of victims, they also conduct a risk assessment consisting of five questions, which aim at assessing the danger of a situation and creating a security plan for the patient (cf. Folder, GewaltFREIleben).

The following measures of the NAP AT are supported by the federal Ministry of Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs (BMEIA).

  • Financing of the project on “Integration, violence protection and personality building”
  • Training for professionals: school psychologists, legal assistance, professional support during family visits (“Besuchsbegleitung”), doctors in schools, University of Applied Sciences Vienna (journalism) and the professional group of the health system
  • The promotion of networking between different relevant professionals, which aims at establishing suitable structures for future cooperation
  • Action Plan for hospitals (“GewaltFREI leben – “Living Free of Violence””) and folder “women have rights”
  • Preventive work with offenders focused on victim’s protection: Restorative Justice (RJ) in form of Victim Offender Mediation (VOM) (See: Drost et al. 2013; adomestic violenceantages of RJ: 13)
  • The Federal Ministry of Education and Women (BMBF) has printed an information brochure on women’s rights and offered events supplying information for professionals from different organisations, who are responsible for networking and transferring the most recent information about domestic violence (MultiplikatorInnen). Moreover, they created an app called fam.help as well as a domestic violence action plan for hospitals.
  • The Ministry of Education and Women (BMBF) is responsible for implementing the National Action Plan for the multi-professional teams “MARAC” within the framework of the project “Living Free of Violence” (“GewaltFREI leben”) to implement standardised documentation of injuries, implementation of European protection measures standards for legal assistance/court support and education programs (cf. NAP 2014, 13).
  • The concept of “early helpers” (frühe Hilfen) was implemented to promote early intervention in domestic violence-risk families, which is a low-threshold offer that tries to support expecting parents. The primary task for the “early helpers” is to establish a better network between concerned organisations and professionals. This program is mainly led by the federal Ministry of Health (BMG), which is also involved in financing networking activities, knowledge production and implementation in Austria. Furthermore, the BMG is tasked with assessing, whether the latest professional-laws should be adapted regarding the mandatory information about victim protection organisations (cf. NAP 2014, 10f).
  • With high-risk cases of domestic violence especially, a close cooperation between the Austrian Federal Ministry of the Interior (BMI) and the Ministry of Justice (BMJ) is necessary. To facilitate this, the production and implementation of a standardised risk assessment tool was planned for the year 2015. So far, these tools are employed regionally, but in pilot phases only (cf. NAP 2014, 13).
  • Promotion of international and European co-operation particularly concerning the topic of forced marriages, such as UN WOMAN, OSZE and the Daphne Project.
Finland

Criminal Act Code

In Finland, there is no specific offence of domestic violence. However, different forms of physical violence are criminalised in the Criminal Code 39/1889, e.g., assault, killing, homicide, murder, negligent bodily injury, negligent homicide, imperilment, endangerment of health and abandonment.

Note: all physical violence, including petty assaults, are subject to public prosecution if the offender is a family member or ex-family member. This means, that the police do not have discretion over filing a criminal offence report.

Psychological violence is not a specific offence. However, if psychological violence has caused the victim physical injuries or mental health issues, psychological violence can be prosecuted as an ‘assault’ in court. Yet, this is not very common since the negative consequences of psychological violence towards one’s physical health are difficult to prove in court, though some illegal acts that may be used as tools of psychological violence are criminalised, e.g., dissemination of information, violating personal privacy, menace, stalking, coercion, defamation, and invasion of domestic premises.

In 2014, the new offence of “Preparation of an aggravated offence against life or health” was inserted into the Criminal Code.

Coercive control is not a specific offence in the Criminal Code but some forms of coercive behaviour, e.g., eavesdropping, illicit observation, deprivation of personal liberty, are criminalised.

Economic violence is not a specific offence but such acts as fraud, extortion and identity theft are criminalised.

It is important to understand that many forms of domestic violence are not recognised as criminal offences. Some forms of violence, e.g., oppression, are difficult to prove in court, some may be word against word cases, e.g., psychological violence. This does not mean that the police should not collect information of the non-criminalised acts of domestic violence or should disregard cases that are difficult to prove in court. Active intervention and prevention of domestic violence require the police to identify all the forms of violence in order to manage the sources of domestic violence risks. This work cannot be done by the police alone, but only in cooperation with social and health care sector and relevant NGOs .

Source: Criminal Code of Finland. Translation from Finnish. Retrieved from https://www.finlex.fi/fi/laki/kaannokset/1889/en18890039.pdf

The Child Welfare Act

  • The Child Welfare Act determines regulations concerning child welfare.
  • It applies to all children who live in Finland. The applicability is not dependent on their nationality, religion, or culture.
  • All children are entitled to a safe and stimulating living environment, balanced and versatile development and special protection.
  • Authorities working with children and families are obliged to submit a child welfare notification if they are concerned about a child’s wellbeing.

Source: Child Welfare Act N:o 417/2007. Unofficial translation. https://www.finlex.fi/en/laki/kaannokset/2007/en20070417_20131292.pdf

Nollalinja, tel. 080 005 005

  • Nollalinja is a nationwide free-of-charge helpline.
  • It is one of the low-threshold services that the Istanbul Convention requires.
  • It is available for anyone who has experienced violence or a threat of violence in a close relationship.
  • It is also available for family members of victims of violence and for professionals and officials who deal with domestic violence in their work with customers.
  • Nollalinja is staffed by trained and experienced health and social services professionals.
  • The service is available 24/7, every day of the year.
  • The service languages are Finnish, Swedish and English.

Source: Nollalinja. About Nollalinja. Retrieved from https://www.nollalinja.fi/about-nollalinja/

Further information:

Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, e.g., National Action Plan for the Istanbul Convention

https://stm.fi/lahisuhde-ja-perhevakivalta

https://thl.fi/fi/web/lapset-nuoret-ja-perheet/tyon_tueksi/vakivallan-ehkaisy/lahisuhdevakivalta

Police web page about Family violenceVictim Support Finland, Domestic Violence

Hungary

The Act LXIV of 1991 on the promulgation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) implemented the conceptual framework of domestic violence against children and domestic violence definitions defined by the convention.

Act XXXI of 1997 on the protection of children and the administration of guardianship was the first law in Hungary, which

  • directly regulated domestic violence,
  • ratified those fundamental laws of children that were defined by the CRC,
  • defined the role of the Child Protection Perceiving and Reporting System, divided into institutions providing services (family support and child welfare services) or performing authority tasks (guardianship office),
  • regulated the operations of temporary homes for children, crisis centres, secret shelter homes and halfway house services.

Government Decree No: 149/1997. (IX. 10.) on guardianship offices and child protection and guardianship proceedings prescribed that, in case of the abuse or severe negligence of children or any other severe cause of endangerment, the guardianship office shall immediately take measures required for the protection of the child.

The “Instruction of the Hungarian National Police Headquarters, 13/2007. (III. 24.) HNPH, on the implementation of handling domestic violence and protecting children” was the first legal document, which widely conceptualised domestic violence in the national context, and defined the possible forms of domestic violence and the victims of domestic violence precisely. It covered both “violence between family members” and “violence against children”. The Instruction referred to various criminal acts, defined by the Criminal Code, that are considered as domestic violence, if “offences under the scope of domestic violence are defined as types of crimes and petty offences against persons, directed against people living in the same household, ’relatives’, former spouses, former domestic partners, and against children living in child protection institutions.”

The Act LXXII of 2009 on restraining orders applicable due to violence between family members defined and regulated the members and tasks of the system of institutions serving to prevent violence between family members. Organisations named in the Act shall report to the body in charge of family protection coordination.

The Act C of 2012 on the Criminal Code implemented domestic violence as a legal fact.

Policy-related documents addressing domestic violence

2003

  • Parliament decree No: 45/2003. (IV. 16.) calls on the government to establish a national strategy towards preventing and effectively handling domestic violence.
  • The goal of the “National Strategy for Social Crime Prevention”, Annex to Parliamentary resolution, No. 11/2003. (X.28) is:
    • to improve the efficiency of the child protection system with a focus on early detection of violence and fast intervention,
    • to strengthen protection and crisis intervention institutions in the social care system,
    • to establish the legal framework and institutional conditions of restraining orders,
    • to educate medical professionals (health visitors, doctors, nurses) for the effective detection of domestic violence and for taking an active role in the child protection system,
    • to map particularly endangered groups.

2010

  • Government Decree No: 1004/2010. (I. 21.) on a national strategy towards enhancing social equality between women and men, 2010-2021, defined the following policies:
    • integrate innovative methods in social services, elaborated by NGOs,
    • establish a clear, coherent definition of domestic violence and related phenomena, that harmonises with international definitions,
    • establish the legislation of domestic violence as an individual legal fact in the Criminal Code,
    • widen domestic violence-related education of social professionals, as well as public teachers,
    • extend gender-based statistical data in yearly criminal statistical surveys,
    • extend the obligation of criminal courts in providing crime statistics related to domestic violence cases.

2014

  • Hungary signed the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (Istanbul Convention).
  • Some members of the Parliament initiated a draft resolution to ratify the Istanbul Convention on 15 December 2014. The parliament voted about the ratification and the parliamentary majority refused the ratification of the convention.
  • The government argues against the ratification of the convention in a highly politicised and anti-migrant framework. The main argument emphasised by the government is that the Istanbul Convention would not only attack the traditional family model but would also try to transplant the gender philosophy. Several critics arose from political parties throughout NGOs and human rights activist groups. As Hungary’s Minister of Justice emphasised in 2017, it was primarily necessary to analyse the internal legal system and find budgetary resources before the ratification.

2015

  • Parliament Resolution, No: 30/2015. (VII. 7.), on the definition of national strategic objectives to enhance the efficiency of responses to intimate partner violence cases calls on the government to counter violence in relationships with the following instruments:
    • provide financial and human resources for striving against domestic violence, especially improving crisis centres and shelter homes, with a focus on equal geographic distribution,
    • improve preventive Social Services,
    • educate the members of the Child Protection Perceiving and Reporting system,
    • sensitise judicial authorities for domestic violence victims,
    • build the measures on sufficient research and data,
    • provide a general, professional monitoring on the execution of the established measures.

Professional protocols and guidelines for frontline responders in relation to domestic violence

Methodological guidelines – For the operation of the child protection perceiving and reporting system – unified principles and methodology for all sectors on recognising and eliminating child abuse (2016). Ministry of Human Capacities. Social- and Child Protection Department

Protocol – For the operation of the child protection perceiving and reporting system – unified principles and methodology for all sectors on recognising and eliminating child abuse (2016). Ministry of Human Capacities. Social- and Child Protection Department

Professional recommendations – For the operation of the child protection perceiving and reporting system – unified principles and methodology for all sectors on recognising and eliminating child abuse (2016). Ministry of Human Capacities. Social- and Child Protection Department

Professional protocols for the operation of crisis centres and halfway house services run by temporary homes for families. Ministry of Human Capacities

Professional protocol for the operation of temporary homes for families. National Institute for Family and Social Policy. 2011

Professional protocol for the operation of temporary homes for children. National Institute for Family and Social Policy. 2011

Professional Guideline for Health Care workers regarding the tasks to handle violence and neglect against children. Ministry of Interior Affairs’ State Secretary of Health. 2015

France

1 – The legislative and regulatory framework in France

On July 4, 2014 France ratified the European Council’s “Action against violence against women and domestic violence“ (or “Istanbul Convention”). The legislative and regulatory framework was reinforced in the mid-2000s. The 2004 divorce reform includes a clause on the eviction of violent spouses. The law of April 4, 2006 introduces the notion of “respect” in marriage vows, recognises theft and rape between spouses, expands the notion of aggravating circumstances to cohabitees, those in civil unions and ex-partners, and facilitates the eviction of the violent spouse from the home.

The law of March 5, 2007 on crime prevention provides for greater socio-judicial monitoring of court orders for perpetrators of violence within the relationship or against minors.

The law of July 9, 2010 on violence specifically against women, violence within relationships and incidences of violence on children, carries a protection order. It allows emergency measures. The law authorises electronic tagging devices for perpetrators of violence under judicial control. It recognises psychological violence (harassment) as an offence.

The law of August 4, 2014 on real equality between men and women strengthens penalties and sentencing as well as the professional support of victims in criminal proceedings. The eviction of the violent spouse from the couple’s home becomes the rule. The “serious danger telephone“ allocation, already tested in several counties, is more widely available. Foreign women who are victims of violence are better protected via residency permits for victims. It introduces a new obligation for basic and continuous training for all professionals involved.

French law now takes into account the whole range of types of violence that may occur within relationships. In criminal terms, harassment, physical violence, sexual violence, forced marriages, female genital mutilation and forced abortion are impacted. Psychological and financial violence are also specifically taken into account.

2 – The major orientations of national policy

Firstly, national policies seek to improve “frontline“ reception. The objective is to ensure that all public actors who may be involved in welcoming women who are victims of violence are able to receive the victim appropriately. The emphasis is placed on training of professionals in the form of specific teaching tools. Teaching kits are designed in such a way as to give the different professionals involved a common basis of knowledge and reference. They are also designed to define the role of each person involved so as to ensure the complimentarily and coherence of their respective actions. Also, for women who are victims of violence within relationships, the organisations concerned appoint an individual whose role is to monitor, organise and develop reception and care practices.

A second major orientation of policies in the fight against domestic violence lies in the development of structures to help victims.

A third major theme introduces local partnership-based mechanisms so as to coordinate the actions of the different stakeholders. These mechanisms can be social workers and psychologists in police stations and gendarmerie units, workgroups dedicated to the problem of domestic violence in local crime prevention and safety committees, information exchange mechanisms, territorial teams from the ministerial department responsible for women’s rights, etc.

The populations considered as particularly vulnerable are minors, those with mental or physical afflictions, the elderly, those suffering from repeated traumas over time, those suffering from addiction, the socially isolated, women who are dependent on their spouse, and those facing economic difficulties (according to the inter-ministerial delegation for victim support).

3 – National plans to counter violence against women

French governmental policy against domestic violence has been structured into five successive inter-ministerial three-year plans. These plans establish the commitments and budgets associated with the implementation: crime prevention, the poverty plan, the policy for aid to victims, and the fight against violence against children.

The first plan, from 2005 to 2007, defines 10 themes for reducing violence against women, which are primarily oriented towards the fight against violence committed within relationships. An assessment report of this plan was drawn up jointly in 2008 by four general inspectorates (administration, national police, judicial services and Social Services). According to their report, the lack of accommodation structures and counselling offers/professional support for perpetrators of violence evicted from the couple’s home and the insufficiency of certain resources (psychologists and social workers) meant that the plan failed to produce the expected results. It emphasises the need for greater cooperation between ministries, better knowledge of local authority initiatives, taking charge of perpetrators earlier in the cycle, and taking the consequences of domestic violence into account for children.

The second plan from 2008 to 2010 introduced the notion of respect and the image of women in the media. It makes improved statistical knowledge of violence against women a priority. It addresses prevention and repeat offending of domestic violence by working with the perpetrators of violence (psychosocial professional support therapy, etc.). It was thanks to the second plan that the idea of a local platform involving all partners, institutional and associative actors, was launched, providing a personalised and more appropriate solution for the needs of the person received. In this perspective, the plan seeks to draw up an inventory of actors and mechanisms that may be called upon to take charge of victims in each county.

The third plan, from 2011 to 2013, maintained the action orientations of the previous plans. New themes emerged: forced marriage, polygamy, sexist and sexual violence at work, rape and sexual aggression, links between prostitution and human trafficking.

The fourth plan, implemented from 2014 to 2016, introduced the „3919 line“, a toll-free telephone number to take calls and guide women who are victims of violence, open seven days a week as of January 1, 2014. For the first time, violence against women is considered a public health priority.

This plan seeks to ensure that, as well as health professionals, all professionals involved benefit from specific basic and continuous training on domestic violence. Also, the 4th plan doubles the number of social workers in police stations and gendarmerie units to provide suitable reception for victims. To protect victims, the plan refers to increased use of protection orders, the generalisation of the “serious danger telephone“ (TGD) and the development of awareness-raising courses for perpetrators to prevent repeat offending.

The fifth plan has been in place since 2017. It includes 133 actions with a budget of € 125 million over a period of three years within the different ministerial programmes. It covers all forms of violence (violence in relationships, sexual violence, forced marriages, female genital mutilation, and prostitution). This plan looks more closely at populations with specific needs that were insufficiently catered for up to that point, such as young women, migrant women, women facing disability, women living in rural or overseas areas and women who are victims of prostitution or sexual violence, and children exposed to domestic violence.

4 – National coordination of policies against domestic violence in France

Coordination

The official body responsible for coordinating the fight against domestic violence is the general directorate of social cohesion (DGCS), which reports to the solidarities and health ministry as well as to the secretary of state for gender equality. The DGCS comprises of three departments, including a women’s rights department (SDFE). This department pilots and coordinates policies against violence against women, in particular through the three-year inter-ministerial plan. The SDFE runs a decentralised network on women’s rights, which includes a representative in each of France’s regions and counties.

Also, the inter-ministerial mission for the protection of women against violence and the fight against human trafficking (MIPROF), created by decree n° 2013-07 of January 3, 2013, is responsible for assembling, analysing, and disseminating information and data on violence against women. MIPROF has defined an awareness-raising and training plan for professionals on violence against women in close collaboration with the ministries concerned. 

Also, the inter-ministerial delegation for aid to victims (DIAV), created in 2017 under the auspices of the justice ministry, coordinates the actions of the different ministries in the area of monitoring and assisting victims.

Assessment

Since the 4th plan, the assessment of the policy against domestic violence has been entrusted to the higher council on equal opportunities (HCE). This independent consultative national body created by decree n° 2013-8 of January 3, 2013 is responsible for producing an overall assessment of actions led through the different inter-ministerial plans, hence its assessment report on the 4th plan for the prevention of and fight against violence against women. The HCE is responsible for phrasing recommendations and proposing reforms to the government and to parliament.

The policy for action against domestic violence is also regularly assessed by specific parliamentary missions (such as the report by Mr. Geoffroy and Mrs. Bousquet on January 17, 2012 to the National Assembly); assessment missions performed periodically by the inspection corps of the different ministries concerned (for example, the July 2008 report by the IGSJ and IGAS on the protection order); or indeed by independent bodies such as the economic, social and environmental committee (CESE) which has published two reports on this subject (“Fighting all forms of violence against women, from the most visible to the most insidious”, on November 19, 2014 and „Combatting violence against women in overseas territories”, in March 2017).

https://stop-violences-femmes.gouv.fr/les-principaux-acteurs-et-le.html

Main figures around domestic violence victims, provided by the national NGO FNSF

Slovenia

With the act of ratifying the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence in 2015, Slovenia included the Istanbul Convention into national legislation.

In Slovenia, the main national legislation in the area of domestic violence management are: the Resolution on the 2009–2014 National Programme on Prevention of Family Violence (a new Resolution on the National Programme for Prevention of Violence against Women and Domestic Violence 2020‒2025 is being drafted), Domestic Violence Prevention Act – ZPND (Zakon o preprečevanju nasilja v družini, Official Gazette of the Republic of Slovenia [Uradni list RS], No. 16/08 of 15 February 2008), and the Act Amending the Domestic Violence Prevention Act – ZPND-A (Official Gazette of the Republic of Slovenia [Uradni list RS], No. 68/16 of 4 November 2016). This act defines the concept of domestic violence, the role and tasks of state authorities, holders of public authority, public service providers and other service providers in the area of social security, healthcare and education, authorities of self-governing local communities and non-governmental organisations in dealing with domestic violence. It also lays down the measures for protecting the victims of domestic violence. The Domestic Violence Prevention Act emphasises three fundamental intentions.

  1. Definition of domestic violence: experts from various areas who are confronted with victims and perpetrators of violence through their work have, so far, not had a clear legal definition of this phenomenon, which would be a helpful starting point for their work.     
  2. Definition of a network of authorities and organisations who consider the cases of domestic violence – a clear definition of rules and procedures that ensure harmonised functioning of authorities and organisations when considering such cases.  
  3. Definition of measures for the protection of victims of domestic violence: victims of legal age make their own decisions regarding whether or not to exercise the measures in court.

The Domestic Violence Prevention Act defines domestic violence as prohibited behaviour. Violence is defined as any form of physical, sexual, psychological, or economic violence inflicted by one family member against another, or neglect or stalking of the victim regardless of age, gender or any other personal circumstance of the victim or the perpetrator of the violence, and physical punishment of children. 

  • Physical violence is definied as any use of physical force or threat to use physical force that coerces the victim to do something or to refrain from doing something or makes the victim suffer or restricts the victim’s movement or communication and causes the victim pain, fear, or shame, regardless of whether injuries were inflicted.
  • Sexual violence involves actions of a sexual nature without the victim’s consent, to which the victim is forced or does not understand their meaning because of the victim’s stage of development, threats to use sexual violence and publication of material of a sexual nature relating to the victim. 
  • Psychological violence is defined as such actions and dissemination of information through which the perpetrator of violence induces fear, shame, feelings of inferiority, endangerment, and other anguish in the victim, including acts carried out by using information and communication technology.
  • Economic violence is the undue control or placing of restrictions on a victim concerning the disposal of his/her income or managing the assets of which the victim independently disposes or manages, or the undue restricting of disposal or management of the common financial assets of family members, undue failure to fulfil financial or material obligations to a family member, or undue transfer of financial or material obligations to a family member. 
  • Neglect is a form of violence in which a perpetrator of violence does not provide due care for a victim who requires it due to illness, disability, old age, developmental or any other personal circumstances.
  • Stalking is wilful, repeated, and unwanted establishment of contact, following, physical intrusion, watching, loitering in places frequented by the victim, or other unwanted forms of intrusion in the victim’s life.

Article 3a of the Act Amending the Domestic Violence Prevention– ZPND-A from the 2016 Prohibition, defines the physical punishment of children. Physical punishment of children shall be considered as any physical, cruel, or degrading punishment of children or any other activity with the intention to punish children containing elements of physical, psychological, or sexual violence or neglect as a method of upbringing.

Domestic violence is a common social problem infringing on basic human rights. Such a view of family violence is also expressed in the Penal Code (PC-1) [Kazenski zakonik], Official Gazette of the Republic of Slovenia [Uradni list RS], No. 55/08 and 66/08), that entered into force on 1 November 2008. In the chapter Criminal offences against marriage, family and children, family violence is stipulated as an independent criminal offence. Family-related criminal offences that are subject to prosecution by the police are domestic violence under Article 191 of the Penal Code (Official Gazette of the Republic of Slovenia [Uradni list RS], No. 50/12 – UPB, 6/16 – popr., 54/15, 38/16 in 27/17) (a victim is a person of legal age) and neglect and maltreatment of a child (Article 192) (a victim is a person under the age of 18).

Domestic violence can be reported by anyone – a victim, a child, a minor, an NGO, a private entity, or a state agency. It should be reported by pre-schools, schools, and healthcare agencies (doctors, therapists, psychiatrists, etc.), whereas persons acting in an official capacity must report it ex officio. A report may be filed at any time, not only when a victim decides to initiate a divorce. One can report domestic violence at the nearest police station in the area. A report may also be filed with the State Prosecutor’s Office, but it is usually referred to the police for investigation. If a report is filed with the State Prosecutor’s Office, it will be handled by the police when received from the Prosecutor’s Office. When filing a report, a victim may be accompanied by a confidential person (i.e., assistant) to support him/her in procedures before state bodies. An official record follows a reported incident, usually called a record of an oral crime report. If the police note, in the course of their work, that a criminal offence was committed, they draw up an official note thereof. If an incident is reported by a child, the police also make an official note. Another option for reporting is via post. The police will talk to the reporting person subsequently. Domestic violence may also be reported by completing an online crime report. However, police advise that this option should only be taken exceptionally. Such reports cannot be considered urgent, they merely serve as information, and it is very difficult for the police to respond effectively, because there is no cooperation from persons involved.

Institutions, responsible for implementing legislation on domestic violence prevention in Slovenia 

The ministers competent for the operation of the police, health organisations, social security and educational institutions shall determine, with the consent of the minister competent for family affairs, the rules and procedures to ensure the concerted action of authorities and organisations which must be considered by the authorities and organisations from the above-mentioned areas in dealing with instances of violence. Non-governmental organisations involved in dealing with and protecting from violence in the framework of their programmes shall provide protection and psychosocial assistance to victims. They also shall organise programmes for perpetrators of violence to teach them non-violent behaviour in interpersonal relationships with the aim of preventing further violence and changing violent behaviour patterns. They shall also cooperate with authorities and organisations in various fields, such as the police, State Prosecutor’s Office, courts, social work centres, health organisations and educational institutions.

Each Social Work Centre (SWC) is supposed to assist victims of violence, intervention services, coordinating activities of authorities and organisations, and monitoring and analysing the occurrence of violence in the area of the SWC. Thus, a service for coordination and assistance to victims is formed. The SWC performs services according to the act of governing social security, and urgent measures for protecting children’s interests according to the act of governing family relationships. Each SWC includes an intervention service and crisis centre.

Regional departments for coordination and assistance to victims: the regional department provides services under the law concerning social protection and emergency measures to protect children’s interests under the law concerning family relations. The regional service includes service intervention, crisis centres and regional coordinators for the prevention of violence.

Rules for the organisation and for the work of multidisciplinary teams and regional services and for the activities of social work centres in dealing with domestic violence were adopted in 2009. The coordination of interinstitutional cooperation is managed by a SWC, which is the local authority to deal with cases of domestic violence. The form of interinstitutional cooperation is also to deal with the case of violence in a multidisciplinary. When detecting domestic violence, all authorities in Slovenia are obliged to notify the SWC within 24 hours of being informed of the circumstances. In case of circumstances based on which can be concluded that a child is a victim of violence, the authorities are obliged to inform the SWC, the police or the state prosecutor’s office within 24 hours. In the event of an imminent threat, and when immediate victim protection is required, all authorities are obliged to notify the SWC or the police via telephone immediately. The SWC and the police immediately exchange information about the notification and, in accordance with the competencies and rules of the profession, coordinate the initial activities.

Police restraining order

If it is an emergency, the police impose, at their discretion, a restraining order to protect the victim and prevent further violence. A local SWC is notified of such a measure. If the perpetrator is instructed to stay away from an educational institution attended by a child or minor victim, the police notify that institution of the order’s duration and provide it with information on the child’s or minor’s protection. A police officer imposes a restraining order orally first and then issues an order in writing within six hours. The first order is valid for 48 hours. The legitimacy of a restraining order is automatically checked by an investigating judge (court), who issues a special decision thereon. If she/he affirms the order imposed by the police, she/he usually extends its validity to 15 days (from the day the restraining order was given orally by the police officer).

The victim may propose to the same court or judge to extend the measure. The victim should prove he/she is still under threat (documenting all statements, text messages, letters, violations of a restraining order, etc.). The court may extend the measure to a maximum of 60 days. A restraining order issued by the police also determines the distance to the victim’s place that the perpetrator must not exceed (200 metres maximum). The victim’s place is considered the place where the victim lives, works, studies, is under protection, or moves about on a daily basis.

The restraining order also includes a prohibition of molestation through means of communication. The perpetrator against whom a restraining order has been issued must immediately leave the residence which he shares with the victim and hand over the key to a police officer. If he violates the order, the police officer will remove him. The police may verify the compliance with the restraining order at any time. A fine is imposed for any violation of the order. The perpetrator who, despite the fine imposed, repeatedly violates the restraining order may be detained by the police for up to 12 hours.

According to the Domestic Violence Prevention Act, a victim of violence may propose the employment of protective measures to the court. Such measures may be introduced for up to twelve months and may be extended for another twelve months. Protective measures are dealt with by courts as a matter of priority. A victim may propose to the court to enact measures provided for by the Domestic Violence Prevention Act. At a victim’s request, the court may, for instance, order the perpetrator as follows:

  • not to enter the victim’s residence,
  • to keep a certain distance away from the victim’s home,
  • to keep a certain distance from places where the victim goes regularly (workplace, school, preschool facility, other places),
  • not to molest or interfere with the victim or the victim’s children in any way, including by means of distance communication,
  • not to have any encounters with the victim or the victim’s children,
  • to leave the residence in which the victim lives (or lived) together with the perpetrator.

Victims of domestic violence can apply for free legal assistance in court. The request is dealt with as a matter of urgency and is given priority, the public is excluded. During court proceedings, the victim can propose other restrictions and measures, e.g., prohibition to expose children in the media, a temporary arrangement of children’s contact with both parents, a prohibition to issue or serve personal identity documents to the other parent, etc. The state grants a special right of compensation to victims of violent intentional crime and their families. The compensation is subject to a special procedure.

Sometimes victims, alone or together with their children, flee their homes and find shelter with their relatives, friends or at safe houses. In such circumstances, they often cannot take their personal belongings with them. A common question is how victims or at least their children can retrieve their belongings. Victims are eligible to a police escort. At their request, the police will escort them to their residence so that they will be able to take their own and their children’s personal belongings. The police enter the residence at a victim’s request and ensure the safety of the persons involved and their property. Only victims are entitled to police assistance for retrieving personal belongings from their home.

Portugal

The Portuguese framework can be found at https://www.cig.gov.pt/portal-violencia-domestica/. It is a website of the Commission for Gender Equality (CIG), exclusively dedicated to the topic of domestic violence. It concerns the following topics.

  • Indicators
  • Legislation
  • Documentation
  • Campaigns
  • National initiatives: Valentine’s Day
  • Contacts

The CIG’s mission is to ensure the implementation of public policies in the field of citizenship, the promotion and defence of gender equality, the fight against domestic and gender violence and trafficking in human beings. It also is responsible for coordinating the respective instruments: the national plans.

The CIG coordinates the national network of support for domestic violence victims. Under such competencies, the CIG has recently produced guidelines for minimum requirement interventions on VD [Guia de requisitos mínimos da intervenção em VD da CIG, available from https://www.cig.gov.pt/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/Guia-de-requisitos-m%C3%ADnimos-de-interven%C3%A7%C3%A3o-em-situa%C3%A7%C3%B5es-de-viol%C3%AAncia-dom%C3%A9stica-e-viol%C3%AAncia-de-g%C3%A9nero.pdf, only in Portuguese].

What stands out in the Portuguese Legislation is the National Strategy for Equality and Non-Discrimination 2018-2030 “Portugal + Equal”, approved by the XXI Constitutional Government on March 8, 2018. It was published in the Diário da República (Resolution of the Council of Ministers No. 61/2018 of May 21). This national strategy includes specific measures and targets until 2021.

  • Action plan for equality between women and men
  • Plan of action for the prevention of and fight against violence against women and domestic violence.
  • Action plan to combat discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, and sexual characteristics.

There is an interim monitoring report from 2018.

The CIG has an information service for victims of domestic violence, created in November 1998, free of charge and operating by telephone, 24 hours a day/365 days a year, to support victims of domestic violence under the number 800 202 148.

It is an anonymous and confidential service. This line has specially trained professionals to assist victims of domestic violence. They provide information on victims’ rights and on the resources available throughout the country and about where psychological, social, and legal support can be obtained.

The CIG also offers a transport service for victims of domestic violence. It ensures the safe transport of victims of domestic violence and their dependents by road as well as their reception in shelters or in emergency reception responses. They also assist victims of human trafficking with the necessary procedural steps to and from the Centres for Reception and Protection in mainland Portugal. The transport service is activated exclusively by the entities mentioned below, a call center system – Mobile Phone No. 910 074 755 operating every day, 24 hours/day – and subsequent completion of the application form.

Finally, the CIG has a Legal Information and Psychosocial Support Service, which provides free legal information and psychosocial support, especially in situations of discrimination and gender-based violence. This service corresponds with one of the main aspects of the Commission for Citizenship and Gender Equality’s work since its early days.

To support the scientific community and the population in general, CIG has a multifaceted information structure that provides researchers, students, trainers, teachers and other specialised professionals and the population in general with a wide range of specialised information and documentation services in the areas of citizenship and gender equality.

National Network for the Support of Victims of Domestic Violence

Support services for victims of domestic violence are organised in the National Network for the Support of Victims of Domestic Violence (“the national network”) created under Law No. 112/2009. The National Network comprises the CIG, the ISS (Institute of Social Security), shelters, emergency accommodation structures and centres providing counselling, psychosocial and/or legal support. This network is coordinated by the CIG and ISS, according to respective competences.

Programme of teleassistance

The teleassistence program for victims is implemented at a national level. Within this program, victims receive an electronic device which allows their constant localisation (through GPS) and offers them emotional support whenever needed. The victim can activate a panic alarm that works as an alert in cases of danger (resulting in an emergency intervention by the police). The victim is also contacted from time to time by the operators of the service to check how she/he is doing and if the equipment is working correctly. The inclusion in the programme can be requested with the victim’s consent, by law-enforcement agencies, by the CIG and other organisations under the national network. The mechanism is activated following a decision by the public prosecutor or the judge. The service is free of charge and can last up to six months.      

Programme for domestic violence perpetrators

The domestic violence perpetrators program (the PAVD – rehabilitation programme for domestic violence perpetrators) is also implemented at national level. This program is developed with IPV male perpetrators within a provisory suspension of the criminal process or as an accessory penalty. The duration of the treatment is 18 months (minimum), and the approach is based on cognitive-behavioral techniques.

Electronic vigilance of perpetrators

The electronic vigilance of perpetrators is also implemented at national level. This measure can be decided to strengthen the supervision of the perpetrator’s compliance with a restraining order (e.g., prohibition of contacts between aggressor and victim) or as an accessory penalty within a provisory suspension of the criminal process or in the suspension of the execution of an imprisonment decision. The aggressor wears a bracelet that emits radio frequency signals, and the victim has a monitoring unit at home as well as a pager that alerts her of the perpetrator’s approach. This program was developed by the Directorate-General of Social Reintegration and Prison Services (DGRSP) (Probation services).

Data on domestic violence – Ministry of Home Affairs

Since 1998, the Ministry of Home Affairs has put in place methodologies regarding the statistical data collection on domestic violence cases reported to GNR and PSP. Based on such methods, the Ministry of Home Affairs has been providing detailed statistical data on domestic violence on a regular basis since the year 2000.

Since 2006, the law enforcement agencies (GNR and PSP) use a standardised form to register all the cases of domestic violence reported. This form includes several data, namely about the occurrence, the victim, the aggressor, witnesses, and other victims (e.g., children). The collection of such detailed data is the basis of the monitoring system that contributes to the Portuguese knowledge on the phenomenon.

Since November of 2014, these two law enforcement agencies have used a new tool for risk assessment in all the cases of domestic violence (which includes two versions: one to be used in the first contact – RVD 1L; and another one to be applied for reassessment purposes – RVD 2L). Both the standard form of the registered occurrence and risk (re)assessment(s) carried out are then sent to the Public Prosecution Service.

A domestic violence database was formally established by the law on domestic violence (in the 2015 amendment) and the General Secretariat of Home Affairs (SGMAI) is responsible for its management.

The Ministry of Home Affairs provides detailed data regarding:

  1. occurrences registered by police forces (e.g., the registration itself, the denouncer, the victim, the perpetrator, the relationship between the victim and the perpetrator, the occurrence, other victims and witnesses);
  2. risk assessments elaborated by police forces;
  3. information related with final decisions of criminal proceedings on domestic violence.

Specialised structures in Law Enforcement Agencies (GNR and PSP)

GNR and PSP have approximately 1000 professionals with specific responsibilities within the field of domestic violence.

In 2004, the GNR implemented a project named NMUME (women and minors’ nucleus), which has been revised. Its scope was enlarged and nowadays, it is designated to the IAVE (investigation and support to specific victims). The specialised military, in this project, focuses its work on preventing, investigating and monitoring situations of violence against women, children and other groups of vulnerable victims. It runs nucleus (designated NIAVE) generally on a district level and teams on a local level (within the police stations).

In 2006, the Public Security Police (PSP) created the designated teams of proximity and support to victims (EPAV), which are responsible for interventions with vulnerable victims – children, the elderly, victims of domestic violence and other victims of violent crimes. The EPAV are responsible for the security and proximity monitoring as well as for the follow-up of cases, post-victimisation monitoring and detection of black figures. At the level of the criminal investigation, the PSP also has specific elements of the domestic violence special teams (EEVD) at their disposal.

According to available data, more than 60 % of the police facilities have a specific room for attending victims (namely the most vulnerable ones, including victims of domestic violence) and all the new facilities that are constructed have such a room at their disposal (in other police facilities possible adaptations are made to promote a proper contact with victims in terms of privacy and comfort).

Specialised structures in the health sector

In 2019, the Ministry of Health created the National Program for the Prevention of Violence in the Life Cycle (Dispatch number 9494/2019 of 21st of October). This Program aims at the reinforcement, in the scope of health services, the mechanisms of prevention, diagnosis and intervention concerning interpersonal violence, namely in terms of mistreatment of children and young people, violence against women, domestic violence and in populations of increased vulnerability. This Program enables a systemised approach on all the existing interventions/answers in the field of domestic/gender violence and in the area of children and youths at risk. The program’s main objectives are: a) ensure the early detection of risk factors and situations of interpersonal violence; b) ensure, in the face of cases of interpersonal violence, an appropriate, timely and articulated intervention; c) promote human rights literacy in the context of interpersonal relationships and a culture of non-violence.

This Program integrates the previous Adult Violence Prevention Teams (created by the Dispatch number 6378/2013 of 16th of March) that are responsible for the dissemination of information and training among health professionals, collecting and organising information concerning the cases of violence detected, supporting other professionals in the management of violence cases (signalling, monitoring and forwarding), and managing exceptionally clinical situations (due to their urgency in terms of danger, when transcending the capacities of the intervention of the institution’s other professionals or teams).

Retrospective Domestic Violence Homicide Analysis Team – EARHVD

In 2015, an amendment of the law on domestic violence was decided: a review of the homicides of victims in the context of domestic violence was carried out by the Retrospective Domestic Violence Homicide Analysis Team. The objective of this work is to identify possible systemic gaps in the institutional response to domestic violence, determining whether such homicides could have been somehow prevented through different responses from institutions that were in contact with each case. In the first three years of functioning of this team (2017-2019), 8 cases were reviewed, and several recommendations were produced.

Recent guidelines and current context

In March 2019, following a succession of alleged cases of homicides in the context of domestic violence (occurred at the beginning of that year) and the publication of GREVIO’s Report on the implementation of the Istanbul Convention in Portugal, the Portuguese Government created a Multidisciplinary Technical Commission for the Improvement of the Prevention and Combat of Domestic Violence (CTM). This commission produced a report (available at: https://www.portugal.gov.pt/download-ficheiros/ficheiro.aspx?v=5f3ac8d2-ef67-462a-b925-042a8263ae25) with several recommendations on data and statistical indicators. It also includes recommended procedures within 72 hours after reporting the facts and training of professionals. Following this report, a governmental order was approved (Council of Ministers Resolution number 139/2019, of 19th of August), defining, based on the recommendations of the commission, the priority actions to be developed, as well as other measures to be taken in areas such as health, education, and social security.

Among other measures set by this resolution, it determines the elaboration of a joint training plan of professionals regarding violence against women and domestic violence as well as a guide of functional procedures to be followed within 72 hours after the report to LEA.

In this context, it also determined the creation of the Violence against Women and Domestic Violence Database (domestic violence MVD). This database will be an extension of the current domestic violence database to include other crimes in the sphere of domestic violence with a higher penal frame and other crimes in the field of violence against women (e.g., murder, rape, physical severe offense, female genital mutilation, and stalking). This database will integrate a higher number of data and indicators and from a wider range of entities. It will collect data namely from law enforcement agencies, public prosecution services, courts and other entities involved in the field of violence against women and domestic violence.

These data will enable the monitoring of cases from the beginning (reporting the case) until the end of the criminal investigation stage, into the trial phase and its corresponding appeals, aiming at a more comprehensive and integrated view regarding the reality of domestic violence and violence against women.

Following the developments in 2019, the Public Prosecution Service also adopted new orientations. Directive number 5 of 2019 (available at: http://www.ministeriopublico.pt/sites/default/files/documentos/pdf/diretiva_num_5_2019.pdf) aimed at providing public prosecutors with guidelines for homogeneous action in the segments identified as especially lacking standardised intervention.

This directive also intended to promote the articulation within the recently created Specialized Integrated Domestic Violence Sections (SEIVD), which comprise the Criminal Action Nucleus (NAP) and the Family and Children Nucleus (NFC). These SEIVD were created, at an experimental level, in several criminal investigations and action departments. These sections contribute to the increasing movement of specialisation of the intervention of the Public Prosecution Service in the area of domestic violence and facilitate specific attention and articulation in cases where children are involved.

Since 2009, a general framework law on domestic violence has been created, repealing previously scattered legislation, and creating the framework for all the work done in the last 10 years – Law no. 112/2009, 16th September – SCOPE – legal regime applicable to the prevention of domestic violence, to the protection and assistance of its victims. Last update in 2020 (Law no. 2/2020, 31st March).

1 – PENAL FRAMEWORK

Penal Code – See Articles 152º (Domestic violence), 152º-A (Maltreatment) and 152º-B (Violation of security rules) and 132º (Qualified homicide), 145º (Offence against qualified physical integrity) and 69º-A (Declaration of unworthiness of inheritance)

Altered by:

Decree-Law No 48/95, 15th March (revising the Penal Code) – Official Gazette No 63/1995, Series I-A, of 13.3.1995

Approves the Penal Code

Rectified by:

Corrigendum No 73-A/95, 14th June – Official Gazette No 136/1995, 1st Supplement, Series I-A, of 14.6.1995

Law No 65/98, 2nd September (amending Article 152 of the Penal Code) – Official Gazette No 202/1998, Series I-A, of 2 September 1998

Amends the Penal Code

Preparatory work

Law No 7/2000, 27th May (amending Article 152 of the Penal Code) – Official Gazette No 123, Series I-A, of 27 May 2000

Fifth amendment to Decree-Law No 400/82 of September 3 (approves the Penal Code), as amended by Law No 6/84 of May 11, Decree-Laws No 132/93 of April 23 and 48/95 of March 15, and Law No 65/98 of September 2, and Nineth amendment to Decree-Law No 78/87 of February 17 (approves the Code of Penal Procedure), as amended by Decree-Law No 6/84 of May 11, Decree-Law No 132/93 of April 23 and Decree-Law No 48/95 of March 15, and Law No 65/98 of September 2, and Nineth amendment to Decree-Law No 78/87 of February 17 (approves the Code of Penal Procedure). Laws No 387-E/87 of 29 December 1987, Laws No 17/91 of 10 January 1991 and No 57/91 of 13 August 1991, Laws No 343/93 of 1 October 1993 and No 423/91 of 30 October 1991, Decree-Law No 317/95 of 28 November 1995 and Laws No 59/98 of 25 August 1998 and No 3/99 of 13 January 1999 (strengthens measures to protect victims of violence).

Preparatory work

Law No 59/2007, 4th September (amending Article 152º and adding Articles 152º-A and 152º-B; amending Articleº 145) – Official Gazette No 170, Series I, 04.09.2007

Twenty-third amendment to the Penal Code, approved by Decree-Law No 400/82, 23rd September, introducing the crime of domestic violence

Preparatory work

Rectified by:

Corrigendum No 102/2007, 31st October (Corrigendum to Article 152a of the Penal Code) – Official Gazette No 210, Series I, 31.10.2007

Law No 19/2013, 21st February (amending Article 152 of the Penal Code) – Official Gazette No 37, Series I, 21.02.2013

29th amendment to the Penal Code, approved by Decree-Law 400/82, 23rd September, and first amendment to Law No 112/2009, 16th September, establishing the legal framework applicable to the prevention of domestic violence and the protection and assistance of its victims.

Preparatory work

Rectified by:

Corrigendum No 15/2013, 19th March, (Corrigendum to Article 35 of Law No 112/2009, 16th September) – Official Gazette No 55, Series I, of 19.03.2013

 Law No 82/2014, 30th December  (adds Article 69º-A to the Penal Code) – Official Gazette No 251, Series I, of 30.12.2014

Amends the 34th amendment to the Penal Code, approved by Decree-Law No 400/82, 23rd September, and also amends the Civil Code, approved by Decree-Law No 47 344/66, 25th November.

Preparatory work

Law No 16/2018, 27th March (amending Article 132º of the Penal Code) – Official Gazette No 61, Series I, of 27.03.2018

Amends (forty-fifth amendment) the Penal Code, approved by Decree-Law No. 400/82, 23rd September, integrating into the classification of homicide crimes committed in the context of a dating relationship, as well as against journalists in the exercise of their functions, reinforcing their legal-penal protection.

Preparatory work

Law No 44/2018, 9th August (amending Article 152º of the Penal Code) – Official Gazette No 153, Series I, 9.08.2018

Strengthens the legal-penal protection of privacy on the Internet (forty-sixth amendment to the Penal Code, approved by Decree-Law 400/82, 23rd September)

Preparatory work

Code of Penal Procedure – See Articles 82º-A (Reparation of the victim in special cases), 200º (Prohibition and imposition of conduct), 201º (Obligation to stay in the home), 281º (Provisional suspension of proceedings) and 282º (Duration and effects of suspension)

Altered by:

Law No 59/98, 25th August 1998 – (inserting Article 82º-A and amending Articles 200º, 201º and 281º of the Code of Penal Procedure) – Official Gazette No 195, Series I-A, 25.08.1998

Preparatory work

Law No 7/2000, 27th May  (amending Articles 281º and 282º of the Code of Penal Procedure) – Official Gazette No 123, Series I, A, of 27.05.2000

Fifth amendment to Decree-Law No 400/82, 3rd September (approving the Criminal Code), as amended by Law No 6/84, 11th May, Decree-Laws No 132/93, 23rd April and No 48/95, 15th March and Law No 65/98, 2nd September and the ninth amendment to Decree-Law No 78/87, 17th February (approves the Code of Penal Procedure), amended by Decree-Law No 387-E/87, 29th December, Laws No 17/91, 10th January and No 57/91, 13th August, by Decree-Laws No 387-E/87, 29th December and No 57/91, 13th August. Laws Nos 343/93, 1st October and 423/91, 30th October, Decree-Law No 317/95, 28th November and Laws No 59/98, 25th August and No 3/99, 13th January (strengthens measures to protect victims of violence).

Preparatory work

Law No 48/2007, 29th August (amending Articles 200º, 201º, 281º and 282º of the Code of Penal Procedure) – Official Gazette No 166, Series I, of 29.08.2007

15th amendment to the Code of Penal Procedure, approved by Decree-Law No 78/87, 17th February

Preparatory work

Rectified by:

Corrigendum No 100-A/2007, 26th October (Corrigendum to Articles 200º (republication), 281º (text of the Act) and 282º (text of the Act and republication)) – Official Gazette No 207, Series I, Supplement, of 26.10.2007

Corrigendum No 105/2007, 9th November (Corrigendum to Articles 200º (of republication), 281º (of the text of the Act) and 282º (of the text of the Act and republication)) – Official Gazette No 216, Series I, 9.11.2007

Law No 26/2010, 30th August – Official Gazette No 168, Series I, of 30.08.2010

19th amendment to the Code of Penal Procedure, approved by Decree-Law No 78/87, 17th February

(Among other measures, it changes the concept of violent crime, which includes the crime of domestic violence)

Preparatory work

Law No 20/2013, 21st February (amending Article 281 of the Code of Penal Procedure) – Official Gazette No 37, Series I, 21.02.2013

20th amendment to the Code of Penal Procedure, approved by Decree-Law No 78/87, 17th February

Preparatory work

Law No 24/2017, 24th May (amending Article 200º of the Code of Penal Procedure) – Official Gazette No 100, Series I, 24.05.2017

Amends the Civil Code promoting the urgent regulation of parental responsibilities in situations of domestic violence and proceeds with the fifth amendment to Law No 112/2009, 16th September, the twenty-seventh amendment to the Code of Penal Procedure, the first amendment to the General Regime of Civil Procedure and the second amendment to Law No 75/98, 19th November

Preparatory work

Law No 101/2019, 6th September (amending Article 200º of the Code of Penal Procedure) – Official Gazette No 171, Series I, 06.09.2019

Amends the Penal Code, bringing the crimes of sexual coercion, rape and sexual abuse of an interned person into line with the Istanbul Convention, and the Code of Penal Procedure, on the prohibition and imposition of conduct.

Preparatory work

2 – PREVENTION AND VICTIM SUPPORT

2.1 – GENERAL

Law No 112/2009, 16th September – Official Gazette, No 180, Series I, of 16.09.2009 Establishes the legal framework applicable to the prevention of domestic violence, the protection and assistance of its victims and revokes Law No 107/99, 3rd August, and Decree-Law No 323/2000, 19th December

Preparatory work

Altered by:

Law No 19/2013, 21st February 1993 (amending Articles 35º and 36º) – Official Gazette No 37, Series I, 21.02.2013

29th amendment to the Criminal Code, approved by Decree-Law No 400/82, 23rd September and first amendment to Law No 112/2009, 16th September, which establishes the legal framework applicable to the prevention of domestic violence and the protection and assistance of its victims Preparatory work

Preparatory work

Rectified by:

Corrigendum No 15/2013, 19th March  (Corrigendum to Article 35º of Law No 112/2009) – Official Gazette No 55, Series I, 19.03.2013

 Law No 82-B/2014, 31st December – Official Gazette No 252, Series I, 31.12.2014 State Budget for 2015 – see Article 173º (amendment of Articles 35º and 36º of Law No 112/2009)

Preparatory work

Law No 129/2015, 3rd September – Official Gazette, No 172, Series I, 03.09.2015 Third amendment to Law No 112/2009, 16th September, which establishes the legal framework applicable to the prevention of domestic violence and the protection and assistance of its victims

Preparatory work

Law No 42/2016, 28th December – Official Gazette No 248, Series I of 28 December 2016 State Budget for 2017 – see Articles 18º and 253º (add Article 80º-A to Law No 112/2009)

Preparatory work

Law No 24/2017, 24th May (amending Article 31º and repealing Article 37º-B of Law No 112/2009) – Official Gazette No 100, Series I, 24.05.2017

Amends the Civil Code promoting the urgent regulation of parental responsibilities in situations of domestic violence and proceeds with the fifth amendment to Law No 112/2009, 16th September, the twenty-seventh amendment to the Code of Penal Procedure, the first amendment to the  General Rules for Civil Procedure and the second amendment to Law No 75/98, 19th November

Preparatory work

 Other information:

Judgment of the Constitutional Court No 158/2012 of 11 May – Official Gazette No 92, Series II, 11.05.2012

Does not hold unconstitutional the provisions of Article 28º, (1) and (2) of Law No 112/2009, 16th September 2009 (legal regime applicable to the prevention of domestic violence and the protection and assistance of its victims), interpreted as meaning that proceedings for the crime of domestic violence are of an urgent nature, even if there are no defendants arrested, if suspending the period for appealing against decisions taken in the courts during the judicial vacation period (Case No 846/11)

Government Order No 280/2016, 26th October – Official Gazette No 206/2016, Series I, of 26.10.2016

Regulates the procedure for retrospective analysis of situations of homicide in the context of domestic violence

Resolution of the Assembly of the Republic No 17/2007, 26th April – Official Gazette No 81, Series I, of 26 April 2007

On the initiative “Parliaments united to fight domestic violence against women”

Preparatory work

Resolution of the Assembly of the Republic No 111/2009, 18th December – Official Gazette No 244, Series I, of 18.12.2009

10th Anniversary of the Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women

Preparatory work

Resolution of the Assembly of the Republic No 67/2017, 24th April – Official Gazette No 80, Series I, of 24.04.2017

Recommends that the Government strengthen measures to prevent domestic violence and to protect and assist its victims

Preparatory work

Resolution of the Assembly of the Republic No 100/2017, 5th June – Official Gazette No 108, Series I of 05.06.2017

Recommends that the Government present a new National Plan for Gender Equality, Citizenship and Non-Discrimination and evaluate the effectiveness of the electronic bracelet in the context of the crime of domestic violence

Preparatory work

Resolution of the Assembly of the Republic No 101/2017, 5th June – Official Gazette No 108/2017, Series I, of 05.06.2017

Recommends that the Government programme, raise awareness and reduce bureaucracy in the fight against domestic violence

Preparatory work

Resolution of the Assembly of the Republic No 107/2017,  6th June – Official Gazette No 109/2017, Series I, 06.06.2017

Recommends that the Government adopt measures to prevent and combat domestic violence

Preparatory work

Resolution of the Assembly of the Republic No 115/2017, 7th June – Official Gazette No 110, Series I, of 07.06.2017

Recommends to the Government the adoption of measures to prevent and combat situations of violence

Preparatory work

Council of Ministers Resolution No 52/2019, 6th March 2009 – Official Gazette No 46/2019, Series I, of 06.03.2019

Creates a multidisciplinary technical commission to improve the prevention and combating of violence

 Resolution of the Assembly of the Republic No 86/2019, 19th June – Official Gazette No 116, Series I, of 19.06.2019

Recommends to the Government the urgent implementation of measures to improve the responsiveness in preventing and combating domestic violence

 Preparatory work

Council of Ministers Resolution No 139/2019 – Official Gazette No 157/2019, Series I, of 19.08.2019

Approves measures to prevent and combat domestic violence

2.2 – CARE, RECEPTION AND SHELTER STRUCTURES

Resolution of the Council of Ministers No 6/99, 8th February – Official Gazette No 32, Series I, B, 8 February 1999

It creates, under the responsibility of the Minister of the Interior, a mission team with the objective of implementing and applying the INOVAR project (Start a New Victim Orientation by a Responsible Attitude)

Protocol No 17/2000, 22th May – Official Gazette No 118, Series II, 22.5.2000

Makes public the protocol between the Minister for Justice, the Minister for Equality and the Portuguese Association of Victim Support (APAV) regarding the permanent telephone assistance service for victims of domestic violence

Resolution of the Council of Ministers No 10/2001, 30th January – Official Gazette No 25, Series I, B, of 30.01.2001

Extends, for one year, the mandate of the mission team created under the Ministry of the Interior, with the aim of implementing and applying the INOVAR project

Resolution of the Council of Ministers No 35/2002, 15th February – Official Gazette No 39, Series I, B, 15.02.2002

Keeps in office the mission team created, under the Ministry of Internal Affairs, with the aim of implementing and applying the INOVAR project, with a view to a new police action and the special protection of more fragile and at-risk groups

Regulatory Decree No 1/2006, 25th January – Official Gazette No 18, I Série-B, 25.01.2006

Regulates the conditions for the organisation, operation and supervision of shelters provided for in Law No 107/99, 3rd August and Decree-Law No 323/2000, 19th  December, which form part of the public network of shelters for women victims of violence (legislation not in force – repealed by Article 56º of Regulatory Decree No 2/2018, 24th January)

Joint Order No 368/2006, 2nd May – Official Gazette No 84, Series II, of 2 May 2006

Assesses the functioning of the shelters

Government Order No 1593/2007, 17th December – Official Gazette No 242, Series I, 17.12.2007

Creates a virtual one-stop shop for the submission of criminal complaints and establishes the procedures to be adopted by GNR, PSP and SEF in order to provide the new service

Order No 32648/2008, 30th December 2008 – Official Gazette No 251, Series II, of 30.12.2008

Approves the Report on the Evaluation of the Functioning of Shelter Houses

Order No 6810-A/2010, 16th April – Official Gazette No 74, Series II, 16.04.2010 Defines the requirements and qualifications necessary for the qualification of victim support technicians

Government Order No 345/2013, 27th November – Official Gazette No 230, Series I, of 27.11.2013

Regulates the regime applicable to the certification of training entities of conflict mediation courses and revokes Ordinance No 237/2010, 29th April

Legislative Order No 3/2017, 19th May – Official Gazette No 97, Serie II, de 19.05.2017

It defines the conditions of use and the limits for the allocation of the funding granted to each one of the responses in the field of domestic violence and human trafficking, as well as in actions and projects in this field or others that are relevant to the implementation of the approved National Plans, or that contribute to the fulfilment of the Government Program

Regulatory Decree No 2/2018, 24th January – Official Gazette No 17, I Serie, de 24.01.2018

Regulates the organisation and functioning of care facilities, emergency reception responses and shelters forming part of the national support network for victims of domestic violence

Rectified by:

Corrigendum No 11/2018, 21st  March – Official Gazette No 57/2018, Series I, 21.03.2018

Government Order No 197/2018, 6th July – Official Gazette No 129, Series I, 06.07. 2018

Regulates Regulatory Decree No 2/2018, 24th January, which regulates the conditions for the organisation and operation of care structures, emergency reception responses and shelters that make up the national network of support for victims of domestic violence, provided for in Law No 112/2009, 16th September, as currently worded.

Order No 1470/2019, 11th February – Official Gazette No 29, Series II, 11.02.2019

Defines the criteria, rules and forms of public support provided by the State to the structures of emergency reception and shelter responses, when outside the

 scope of social action subsystem

Rectified by:

Corrigendum No 422/2019, of 13th May – Official Gazette No 91/2019, Series II, of 13.05.2019-05-13

Order No 6398/2019 of 16 July 2009 – Official Gazette No 134/2019, Series II, of

16.07.2019

Assesses the operating conditions of the current structures and responses of the National Network of Support for Victims of Domestic Violence with a view to identifying the main difficulties or constraints in adapting to the conditions set out in Regulatory Decree No 2/2018, 24th January

2.3 – MEDIA

Resolution of the Assembly of the Republic No 62/2019, 6th May – Official Gazette No 86, Series I, of 06.05.2019 

Recommends that the Government encourage the media to draw up a code of conduct adapted to the Istanbul Convention for adequate news coverage of domestic violence

Preparatory work

2.4 – TRAINING OF MAGISTRATES

Law No 80/2019, 2nd September – Official Gazette No 167/2019, Series I of 02.09.2019

Provides mandatory training for magistrates on human rights and violence

the third amendment to Law No 2/2008 of 14 January 2008, which governs the

entry into the judiciary, the training of magistrates and the nature, structure and

operation of the Centre for Judicial Studies

Change it:

Law No 2/2008, 14th January – Official Gazette No 9/2008, Series I, of 14.01.2008 Regulates the entry into the judiciary, the training of magistrates and the nature, structure and operation of the Centre for Judicial Studies and proceeds with the fourth amendment to Law No 13/2002, 19th February, approving the Statute of Administrative and Tax Courts

3 – ACCESS TO THE LAW AND THE COURTS

Law No 34/2004, 29th July – Official Gazette No 177, Series I-A, of 29 July 2004

Amends the system of access to law and to the courts and transposes into national law Council Directive 2003/8/EC, 27th January 2003, to improve access to justice in cross-border disputes by establishing minimum common rules relating to legal aid for such disputes

Altered by:

Law No 47/2007, 28th August – Official Gazette No 165, Series I, 28.08.2007

First amendment to Law No 34/2004, 29th July amending the system of access to the law and to the courts

Judgment of the Constitutional Court No 637/2013 – Official Gazette No 203, Series I, of 21.10.2013

Declares the rule in Article 28º(4) of Law No 34/2004 of 29 July 2004 to be unconstitutional, with general binding force, on the interpretation that the judge may uphold the challenge brought by the opposing party in accordance with Article 26(5) of that law, without the beneficiary of legal aid being informed of the challenge and without being given the opportunity to contradict it

Judgment of the Constitutional Court No 353/2017 – Official Gazette No 177, Series I, of 13.09.2017

Declares unconstitutional, with general binding force, the rule requiring payment of the initial judicial fee within 10 days of the date of communication to the applicant of the negative decision of the social security service on legal aid, without prejudice to subsequent reimbursement of the amounts paid in the event that the decision is challenged, as set out in Article 29º(5)(c) of Law No 34/2004, 29th July, as amended by Law No 47/2007, 28th August

Judgment of the Constitutional Court No 242/2018, 7th June – Official Gazette No 109, Series I, of 07.06.2018

Declares unconstitutional, with general binding force, the provision in Article 7º(3) of Law No 34/2004, 29th July, as amended by Law No 47/2007, 28th August, in so far as it refuses legal protection to legal persons for profit, without regard to their actual economic situation, for infringement of Article 20º(1) of the Constitution of the Portuguese Republic

Law No 40/2018, 8th August – Official Gazette No 152, Series I, 08.08.2018 Determines the annual updating of the fees for legal services provided by lawyers in the context of legal aid, making the second amendment to Law No 34/2004, 29th  July 2004, which amends the system of access to the law and to the courts

Decree-Law No 120/2018, 27th December 2008 – Official Gazette No 249, Series I, of 27 December 2018

Establishes uniform rules for the assessment of financial insufficiency to be taken into account in the recognition of entitlement to the granting and maintenance of means-tested social assistance or subsidies

Regulated by:

Government Order No 10/2008, 3rd January – Official Gazette No 2, Series I, of 03.01.2008

Regulates the law on access to the law, approved by Law No 34/2004 of 29 July, as amended by Law No 47/2007, 28th August

Altered by:

Government Order No 654/2010, 11th August 2010 – Official Gazette No 155, Series I, of 11.08.2010

 Amends Government Order No 10/2008, 3rd January, regulating the law on access to the law, approved by Law No 34/2004, 29th July, as amended by Law No 47/2007, 28th August

(See in particular the amendment to Article 1 – regulates Article 25º(1) of Law No 112/2009, 16th September on legal adomestic violenceice to be given to victims of domestic violence)

Other information:

Decree-Law No 34/2008, 26th February – Official Gazette No 40, Series I, 26.02.2016 Approves the Rules on procedural costs – see Article 4º (Exemptions), paragraph 1, point z)

Changed by:

Law No 7-A/2016, 30th March 2006 – Official Gazette No 62, Series I, 30.03.2016 State Budget for 2016 – see in particular Articles 17º and 207º.

Resolution of the Assembly of the Republic No 3/2017, 2nd January – Official Gazette No 1, Series I, of 02.01.2017

Recommends that the Government evaluate legal aid for crimes of domestic violence and the regulation of parental responsibilities

4 – HEALTH/EXEMPTION OF MODERATING FEES

Order No 20509/2008, 5th August – Official Gazette No 150, Series II, of 5 August 2008, which applies the system of exemption from moderation fees for victims of domestic violence

Decree-Law No 113/2011, 29th November 2011 – Official Gazette No 229, Series I, of 29.11.2011

Regulates access to the benefits of the National Health Service for users as regards the system of user charges and the application of special benefit schemes Consolidated text

See Article 8º(i)

5 – REGULATION OF PARENTAL RESPONSIBILITIES

Law No 24/2017, 24th May – Official Gazette No 100, Series I, of 24.05.2017

Amends the Civil Code promoting the urgent regulation of parental responsibilities in situations of domestic violence and proceeds with the fifth amendment to Law No 112/2009, 16th September, the twenty-seventh amendment to the Code of Criminal Procedure, the first amendment to the General Regime of Civil Procedure and the second amendment to Law No 75/98, 19th November

6 – VICTIM STATUS

Government Order No 229-A/2010, 23rd April – Official Gazette No 79, Series I, of 23.04.2010

Approves the models of documents attesting to the award of the status of victim

Order No 7108/2011, 11th May 2011 – Official Gazette No 91, Series II, 11.05.2011 Establishes the criteria for the granting of the status of victim by the Commission for Citizenship and Gender Equality to the victim of domestic violence

7 – COMPENSATION OF VICTIMS

Law No 104/2009, 14th September – Official Gazette No 178, Series I, 14.09.2009 Approves the scheme for granting compensation to victims of violent crimes and domestic violence

Altered by:

Law No 121/2015, 1st September 2015 – Official Gazette, No 170, Series I-A, of 1 September 2015

First amendment to Law No 104/2009, 14th September 2009

Approving the scheme for granting compensation to victims of violent crimes and domestic violence (amending Articles 1º and 6º)

Regulated by:

Decree-Law No 120/2010, 27th October 2010 – Official Gazette, No 209, Series I, of 27.10.2010

Regulates Law 104/2009, 14th September and regulates the constitution and functioning of the Commission for the Protection of Victims of Crime

Government Order No 403/2012, 7th December 2012 – Official Gazette No 237, Series I, of 7.12.2012

Approves the model applications for the granting of adomestic violenceance compensation by the State for victims of violent crimes and domestic violence

Other information:

Resolution of the Assembly of the Republic No 16/2000, 3rd March – Official Gazette No 55, Series I-A, 6 March 2000

Approves, for ratification, the European Convention on the Compensation of Victims of Violent Infringements, opened for signature in Strasbourg on 24 November 1983

Ratified by:

Decree of the President of the Republic No 4/2000, 6th March – Official Gazette No 55, Series I-A, of 6 March 2000

Ratifies the European Convention on compensation to victims of violent crime, opened for signature by the Member States of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg on 24 November 1983

8 – MEASURES TO PROTECT VICTIMS

Law No 61/91, 13th August – Official Gazette No 185, Series I-A of 13 August 1991

Ensures adequate protection for women victims of violence

Other information:

Resolution of the Assembly of the Republic No 31/99, 14th April – Official Gazette No 87, Series I-A, 14.04.1999

Expresses the need to regulate and implement, as a matter of urgency and priority, the measures provided for in Law No 61/91, 13th August 1991 guaranteeing adequate protection for women victims of violence

Resolution of the Assembly of the Republic No 7/2000, 26th January – Official Gazette No 21, I A Series, of 26.01.2000

Resolves to promote the implementation of measures to protect victims of domestic violence

Law No 27/2008, 30th June 2008 – Official Gazette No 124, Series I, of 30.06.2008

Establishes the conditions and procedures for granting asylum or subsidiary protection and the status of asylum seeker, refugee and subsidiary protection, transposing into national law Council Directives 2004/83/EC of 29 April 2004 and 2005/85/EC of 1 December 2005

(Victim of domestic violence is considered as “applicant with special reception needs”)

Altered by:

Law No 26/2014, 5th May – Official Gazette No 85, Series I, of 05.05.2014 Which proceeds with the first amendment to Law No 27/2008, 30th June, establishing the conditions and procedures for granting asylum or subsidiary protection and the status of asylum seeker, refugee and subsidiary protection, transposing Directives No. 27/2008 and No. 3/2008. 2011/95/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 December 2013/32/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 June and 2013/33/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 June

Framework Decision 2008/947/JHA, 27th November – Official Journal of the European Union L 337/103, 16.12.2008

Concerning the application of the principle of mutual recognition to judgments and probation decisions for the purposes of the supervision of probation measures and alternative sanctions

Altered by:

Council Framework Decision 2009/299/JHA, 26th February – Official Journal of the European Union L 81/24 of 27.03.2009

Amends Framework Decisions 2002/584/JHA, 2005/214/JHA, 2006/783/JHA, 2008/909/JHA and 2008/947/JHA, which strengthen the procedural rights of persons and promote the implementation of the principle of mutual recognition in respect of decisions rendered in absentia

Regulation (EC) No 4/2009, 18th December 2008 (Articles 57º(3) and 8.1.7.1 of Annex VI and 6.2.1 of Annex VII) – Official Journal of the European Union L 7/1 of 10.1.2009 on jurisdiction, applicable law, recognition and enforcement of decisions and cooperation in matters relating to maintenance obligations

Council Resolution 10th June 2011 – Official Journal of the European Union C 187/1 of 28.06.2011

On a roadmap for strengthening the rights and protection of victims, including in criminal proceedings

Regulation (EU) No 604/2013,  26th June (Article 32º) – Official Journal of the Union European L 180/31 of 29.06.2013

Lays down the criteria and mechanisms for determining the Member State responsible for examining an application for international protection lodged in one of the Member States by a third-country national or a stateless person

Regulation (EU) No 606/2013, 12th June (take into consideration 6) – Official Journal of the European Union L 181/4 of 29.06.2013

On mutual recognition of civil protection measures

Law No 71/2015, 20th July – Official Gazette No 139/2015, Series I, of 20.07.2015 Establishes the legal framework for the issue and transmission between Portugal and the other Member States of the European Union of decisions implementing protection measures, transposing Directive No 2011/99/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13th December 2011 on the European protection order

9 – NATIONAL MOURNING

Decree No 8/2019, 6th March – Official Gazette No 46/2019, Series I of 06.03.2019 Declares a one-day national mourning for victims of domestic violence

10 – NATIONAL PLANS AND STRATEGY

Resolution of the Council of Ministers No 49/97, 14th March – Official Gazette No 70, Series I, B, 24.3.1997.

Approves the Global Plan for Equal Opportunities

Resolution of the Council of Ministers No 55/99, 15th June – Official Gazette No 137, Series I, B, 15 July 1999

Approves the national plan against domestic violence

Order No 2995/2000, 8th February – Official Gazette No 32, Series II, 8 February 2000 Establishment of a committee of experts to monitor the implementation of the National Plan against domestic violence (I) and its evaluation

Resolution of the Council of Ministers No 88/2003, 7th July 2003 – Official Gazette No 154, Series I, B, of 7 June 2003

Approves the II National Plan against Domestic Violence

Resolution of the Council of Ministers No 21/2005, 28th January 2005 – Official Gazette No 20, Series I-B, 28.01.2005

Approves the annual implementation report of the Second National Plan against Domestic Violence and creates a mission structure called “Mission Structure against Domestic Violence

Resolution of the Council of Ministers No 104/2005, 27th June 2005 – Official Gazette No 121, Series I-B, of 27 June 2005

Determines that the existing Mission Structure against Domestic Violence will depend on the joint supervision of the member of the Government responsible for gender equality issues and the Minister of Labour and Social Solidarity and appoints a new head and coordinators

Regulatory Decree n.o 1/2012, 6th January – Official Gazette n.o 5, I Série, de 06.01.2012

Revokes Decree-Law No 164/2007, 3rd May and approves the structure of the Commission for Citizenship and Gender Equality, which succeeded the Commission for Equality and Women’s Rights and the Mission Structure against Domestic Violence, which had been created by Council of Ministers Resolution No 21/2005, 28th January

Resolution of the Council of Ministers No 51/2007, 28th March – Official Gazette No 62, Series I, 28.03.2007

Determines the preparation of the III National Plan for Equality, the III National Plan against Domestic Violence and the First National Plan against Trafficking in Human Beings

Resolution of the Council of Ministers No 83/2007, 22th June – Official Gazette No 119, Series I, 22.06.2007

Approves the III National Plan Against Domestic Violence (2007-2010)

Council of Ministers Resolution No 71/2009, 25th August 2009 – Official Gazette No 164, Series I, of 25.08.2009

Approves the National Plan of Action for the Implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 (2000), adopted on 31 October 2000, on “Women, Peace and Security” (2009-2013)

Resolution of the Council of Ministers No 100/2010, 17th December 2010 – Official Gazette No 243, Series I, of 17.12.2010

Approves the IV National Plan against Domestic Violence (2011-2013)

Resolution of the Council of Ministers No 102/2013, 31st December – Official Gazette No 253, Series I of 31.12.2013

Approves the Fifth National Plan for Preventing and Combating Domestic and Gender Violence 2014-2017

Rectified by:

Declaration Corrigendum No 12/2014, 26th February 2014 – Official Gazette No 42, Series I, 26.02.2014

Resolution of the Assembly of the Republic No 136/2017, 29th June 2007 – Official Gazette No 124, Series I, of 29.06.2017

Recommends that the Government forward annually to the Assembly of the Republic the evaluation of the implementation of the national plans within the framework of equality

Resolution of the Council of Ministers No 61/2018, 21st May – Official Gazette No 97, Series I, 21.05.2018

Approves the National Strategy for Equality and Non-Discrimination 2018-2030

(includes the Action Plan for Equality between Women and Men, the Action Plan for Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence, and the Action Plan to Combat Discrimination on the grounds of Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Expression, and Sexual Characteristics)

Council of Ministers Resolution No 33/2019, 15th February – Official Gazette No 33/2019, Series I, 15.02.2019

Approves the III National Plan of Action for the Implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 (2000) on Women, Peace and Security 2019-2022

11 – LOCAL GOVERNMENT COMPETENCES

Law No 33/98, 18th July – Official Gazette No 164, Series I, A of 18 July 1998 –

Municipal Security Councils

 Altered by:

Law No 106/2015, 25th August 2015 – Official Gazette No 165, Series I-A, 25.08.2015 First amendment to Law No 33/98, 18th July, integrating domestic violence and road accidents within the scope of the objectives and powers of the municipal safety councils

Decree-Law No 32/2019, 4th March 2009 – Official Gazette No 44/2019, Series I, of 4 March 2019

Extends the competence of municipal bodies in the field of proximity policing

Law No 50/2018, 16th August – Official Gazette No 157, Series I, of 16 August 2018 Framework law on the transfer of powers to local authorities and intermunicipal bodies

Regulated by:

Decree-Law No 101/2018, 29th November 2008 – Official Gazette No 230, Series I, of 29.11.2018

It implements the framework for the transfer of powers to municipal and intermunicipal bodies in the field of justice

12 – WITNESS PROTECTION

Law No 93/99, 14th July – Official Gazette No 162, Series I, A of 14 July 1999

Regulates the application of measures for the protection of witnesses in criminal proceedings

Altered by:

Law No 29/2008 of 4 July 2008 – Official Gazette No 128, Series I, 04.07.2008 First amendment to Law No 93/99 of 14 July 1999, regulating the application of measures to witness protection in criminal proceedings

Law No 42/2010, 3rd September 2010 – Official Gazette No 172, Series I, of 3 September 2010

Second amendment to Law No 93/99 of 14 July 1999 regulating the application of measures for the protection of witnesses in criminal proceedings

Regulated by:

Decree-Law No 190/2003, 22nd August – Official Gazette No 193, Series I-A of 22 August 2003

Regulates Law No 93/99, 14th July, which regulates the application of measures for witness protection in criminal proceedings

Changed by:

Decree-Law No 227/2009, 14th September – Official Gazette No 178, Series I, of 14.09.2009

Amends (first amendment) Decree-Law No 190/2003, 22nd August regulating Law No 93/99, 14th July on the application of measures for the protection of witnesses in criminal proceedings

13 – ELECTRONIC SURVEILLANCE

Law No 33/2010, 2nd September – Official Gazette No 171, Series I, of 2 September 2010 Regulates the use of technical means of remote control (electronic surveillance) and revokes Law No 122/99, 20th August 1999, which regulates the electronic surveillance provided for in Article 201º of the Code of Penal Procedure

See Section V (Articles 26º to 28º) and Article 29º (1)(f)

Altered by:

Law No 94/2017, 23rd August 1977 – Official Gazette No 162, Series I, 23.08.2017

Amends the Criminal Code, approved by Decree-Law No 400/82, 23rd September, the Code of Execution of Sentences and Privative Measures of Freedom, approved by Law No 115/2009, 12th October, Law No 33/2010, 2nd September, regulating the use of technical means of remote control (electronic surveillance), and the Law on the Organization of the Judicial System, approved by Law No 62/2013, 26th August

Other information:

Resolution of the Council of Ministers No 1/2001, 6th January 2001 – Official Gazette No 5, Series I, B, 6.01.2001

Creates, within the Ministry of Justice, a mission structure with the aim of developing strategies for implementing the system of electronic monitoring of defendants subject to the coercive measure provided for in Article 201º of the Penal Procedure Code

Ministerial Order No 220-A/2010, 16th April 2010 – Official Gazette No 74, Series I, 16.04.2010

Establishing the conditions for the initial use of the technical means of remote assistance provided for in Article 20º(4) and (5) and the technical means of remote control provided for in Article 35º, both of Law No 112/2009, 16th September, which approves the legal framework applicable to the prevention of domestic violence and the protection and assistance of its victims

Altered by:

Government Order No 63/2011, 3rd February 2011 – Official Gazette No 24, Series I, 03.02.2011

First amendment to Government Order No 220-A/2010, 16th April, rewording Articles 4º and 7º and repealing Article 5º.    

14 – INTERNATIONAL CONVENTIONS

Law No 23/80, 26th July – Official Gazette No 171, Series I, 29.07.1980

Ratifies the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women

Altered by: 

Resolution of the Assembly of the Republic No 17/2002, 8th March – Official Gazette No 57, Series I-A, of 8.3.2002

Approves, for ratification, the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, adopted in New York on 6 October 1999

Ratified by:

Decree of the President of the Republic No 15/2002, 8th March – Official Gazette No 57, Series I-A, 08.03.2002

Ratifies the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, adopted in New York on 6th October 1999

Resolution of the Assembly of the Republic No 20/90, 12th September – Official Gazette No 211, Series I, of 12. 09.1990

Approves, for ratification, the Convention on the Rights of the Child signed in New York on 26th January 1990

Ratified by:

Decree of the President of the Republic No 49/90, 12th September 1990 – Official Gazette No 211, Series I, Supplement, 12.09.1990

Ratifies the Convention on the Rights of the Child signed in New York on 26th January 1990

Rectified by:

Republic No 11/1991, Series Ia, of

Corrigendum No 1/91, 14th January – Official Gazette No 11/1991, Serie I, 14.01.1991

Corrigendum No 8/91, 20th March – Official Gazette No 66/1991, Series I-A, 20.03.1991

Altered by:

Resolution of the Assembly of the Republic No 12/98, 22th January – Official Gazette No 66, Series I-A, 19.03.1998

Approves, for ratification, the amendment to Article 43º (2) of the Convention on the Rights of the Child adopted by United Nations General Assembly Resolution 50/155, 21st December 1995

Resolution of the Assembly of the Republic No. 4/2013, 21st January – Official Gazette No. 14, Series I, of 21.01.2013

Approves the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence, adopted in Istanbul on 11th May 2011

Ratified by:

Decree of the President of the Republic No 13/2013, 21st January – Official Gazette No 14, Series I, of 21.01.2013

Ratifies the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence, adopted in Istanbul on 11th May 2011       

15 – EUROPEAN INSTRUMENTS

Portugal respects international and, in particular, European legislation on preventing and fighting the crime of Domestic Violence. International legislation is welcomed through the legal ratification and transposition processes, which involve the different sovereign bodies (Parliament, Government and President of the Republic).

Decision No 293/2000/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council 24th January 2000 – Official Journal of the European Union, L 34/1 of 09.02.2000

Adopts a programme of Community action (the Daphne programme) (2000-2003) on preventive measures to fight violence against children, young persons and women (Not in force)

Decision No 803/2004/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council 21st April 2004 – Official Journal of the European Union L 143, 30.4.2004

Adopts a programme of Community action (2004-2008) to prevent and combat violence against children, young people and women and to protect victims and groups at risk (the Daphne II programme) – (Not in force)

Regulation (EC) No 1922/2006, 20th December – Official Journal of the European Union L 403/9 of 30.12.2006

Establishes a European Institute for Gender Equality

Changed by:

Addendum to Regulation (EC) No 1922/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20th December 2006, establishing a European Institute for Gender Equality – Official Journal L 54/3, 22.2.2007.

Decision No 779/2007/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20th June 2007 – Official Journal of the European Union L 173/19 of 03.07.2007

Establishes for the period 2007-2013 a specific programme to prevent and combat violence against children, young people and women and to protect victims and groups at risk (Daphne III programme) as part of the General programme Fundamental Rights and Justice Council Conclusions of 7 March 2011 – Official Journal of the European Union C155/10 European Pact for Gender Equality (2011-2020)

Regulation (EU) No 1381/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17th December 2013 – Official Journal of the European Union L 354/62 of 28.12.2013

Creates the Rights, Equality and Citizenship Programme for the period 2014-2020


Implementation of International Norms

International organisations (e. g., UN, Council of Europe) have defined a set of minimum standards which governments and service providers (SP) should achieve and implement in order to meet their international obligation to exercise due diligence to investigate and punish acts of violence, provide protection to victims and prevent domestic violence. There are international standards for service providers in general and for law enforcement in particular (but not specifically for NGOs or medical doctors). The foundations from which the basic standards are developed encompass:

  • confidentiality;
  • safety, security and respect for service users within a ‘culture of belief’ and ‘taking the side of’ the victim;
  • accessibility: ensuring all women can access support wherever they live and whatever their circumstances;
  • availability: crisis, medium-term and long-term provision are all needed, with
  • access 24/7 where safety is compromised immediately;
  • support should be available free of charge;
  • support and interventions should employ the principles of empowerment and
  • self-determination.

Service providers – including the police – should be skilled, gender-sensitive, have ongoing training and conduct their work in accordance with clear guidelines, protocols, ethics codes and, where possible, provide female staff. Each SP should maintain the confidentiality and privacy of the victim. They should co-operate and co-ordinate with all other relevant services. They should monitor and evaluate service provision, seeking participation of service users. The expertise of the specialised NGOs should be recognised. Standards also stress the importance of integration in approaches to domestic violence. They insist on inter-agency co-ordination and the establishment of intervention chains and referral processes and protocols. The best way to deliver services is through a ‘one-stop shop’, multidisciplinary teams, or ‘one-stop person’ approaches. Where appropriate, a range of protection and support services should be located on the same premises.

IMPRODOVA research about international norms

In the course of the IMPRODOVA project, research interviews were carried out in at least two locations in each partner country in order to see how well the international norms are implemented in European countries. The researchers conducted 296 interviews in total, with interviews involving police officers, social workers, medical staff, and members of non- governmental organisations.

The main finding of this report is that the international standards are relatively well implemented in all the partner countries. Based on the analysis, we can conclude that the police have the power to enter private property, arrest and remove a perpetrator. Protection or restraining orders are available for the police to tackle all forms of domestic violence. It is also of importance, that police agencies co-ordinate with, and refer to specialist support services for victims of domestic violence, and that all analysed police organisations have protocols on sharing information on domestic violence with other agencies. The IMPRODOVA partners also found that there are some areas that require special attention in the future, since gaps between the international standards and the actual practice were discovered. Police personnel should be better trained on all aspects of domestic violence, victims should be seen by a specifically trained officer as soon as possible and there should be at least one such officer per police unit for domestic and sexual violence.

The comparison of the case studies in the eight partner countries yields many lessons, but one sticks out: frontline responders who are specialists of domestic violence probably serve the needs of victims in a better way than frontline responders who are generalists. “Specialists” are police officers (or social workers, or medical professionals) whose job specialty consists of handling domestic violence cases. As “generalists” we label those police officers (or social workers, or medical professionals) who indifferently handle all the cases that they encounter in their work. The key variable therefore is whether victims make themselves known to specialists or generalists.

Specialists are well-trained and have more experience. They are more likely to be able to routinely ensure a prompt and suitable treatment of “normal” cases, and to manage more complex and technical cases. Their organisational structure reflects an advanced process of division of labour. Specialists are more capable of correctly interviewing a victim, of appropriately writing down case documentation, of giving correct advice to a victim, of appropriately orienting a victim to support structures.

Specialised units also are more likely to work in close partnerships with other types of professionals, for instance the embedded social worker at the police station. They serve as a contact point for other police units and external actors (NGOs, schools, …).

Further information about country-specific results and the methodology can be found here: