Portugal’s first shelter for male victims of domestic violence opens in Algarve

Just as another horror story of domestic violence plays out in local media, the country’s first shelter for male victims is opening in Faro.

It is a pilot-project supported by the government and the António Silva Leal foundation, based in Lisbon but with branches throughout the country.

Presented in Faro by State Minister Eduardo Cabrita, the shelter will be opening its doors on Friday – promising space for a maximum of 10 men fleeing intolerable situations in their own homes.

Considering men are habitually the perpetrators of domestic violence, the idea of a shelter for them as victims may seem unusual, but Cabrita explained that men make up 15% of Portugal’s domestic violence cases, with “thousands” being involved on a nationwide scale, and “hundreds in the Algarve”.

The new shelter will be designed to give these men, or at least 10 at a time, “legal and psychological advice, as well as social solidarity support.

Cabrita’s data suggests that between 2013-2015, 1,240 men appealed to APAV, the Portuguese association for the support of victims, 342 of them being men over the age of 65.

Faro is actually the “third district on a national level”, behind Lisbon and Porto, with the “most number of victims”, he added, stressing that the shelter will take in men from every area in the country, particularly as one of the ways forwards in cases of domestic violence is to shelter victims in areas removed from their habitual place of residence.

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