President calls for firm action against domestic violence

A new law concerning domestic violence is to come into force in Portugal and will mean abusive partners will be held to justice. 

Under the current law, an abusive partner can only be charged if caught in the act, but changes to the law will mean that, from January 2009, the testimony of a victim of domestic violence will now count towards a prosecution.

Portuguese President Cavaco Silva and his wife Maria Cavaco Silva received Joana Carmo Vaz, director of the Red Cross Shelter in Matosinhos, to listen to the accounts of nine victims of domestic abuse. Upon hearing how many women, who find themselves victim to domestic violence, have to leave home with nothing more than their children and the clothes they are wearing, Cavaco Silva, speaking from Belém last Saturday, said: “Portuguese society must not tolerate crimes committed within families,” and called for “ serious repercussions against an affliction which shames us all”.

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