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Domestic violence cases on the rise

LAST YEAR, 21 Portuguese women were killed by their husbands, ex-husbands or partners, while domestic violence reports made to the police rose by 12 per cent according to a study presented on February 20.

This study, entitled Observatório das Mulheres Assassinadas  (A study into murdered women), was carried out by the national feminist group União de Mulheres Alternativa e Resposta (UMAR), and presented in Porto.

“The study was based on news in the press, which we tried to cross reference with official data from the PSP, the PJ and the Legal Medical Institute,” said UMAR spokeswoman, Maria José Magalhães. “All of the women in the study were killed by being shot, stabbed or beaten with sticks.”

Cases of domestic violence between recently separated couples are also on the increase. “Shortly after separation, is the time when all control is lost and intervention measures must be swift,” said criminal public prosecutor Carlos Figueira to daily national newspaper Correio da Manhã. “Motivated by jealousy or anger, the aggressors begin stalking and terrorising their ex-partners.”

Victims

The number of domestic violence incidents reported to the police are also on the increase in Portugal, with the PSP having registered 13,050 cases in 2007 compared with 11,638 in 2006. The majority of these cases are towards women, however, domestic violence towards the elderly and children is also on the increase.

A spokesperson for the Associação Portuguesa de Apoio à Vítima (APAV), the national victim support organisation, said that it is possible to see this in a positive light, where more aggressors are being punished for their crimes and more victims are brave enough to come forward (also read ‘Domestic abuse figures rise’ in The Resident of March 16 2007).

If you are a victim of domestic violence, please ring the Associação Portuguesa de Apoio à Vítima (APAV), on 707 200 077 (English spoken). For more information about APAV, please visit www.apav.pt (in Portuguese only). For more information about UMAR, please visit the website, in Portuguese only, at www.umarfeminismos.org

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