A seminar entitled ‘Domestic Violence – A Cross Cultural Focus’ was “a great success, judging from the feedback of those who attended”, said organisers Safe Communities Portugal (SCP) and victim support association APAV.
The seminar aimed to create greater awareness about domestic violence across different cultures and how to recognise the signs.
Held at Palácio Gama Lobo in Loulé on June 9, this was SCP’s first face-to-face seminar for two years due to Covid-19 restrictions and brought together NGOs and members of the government who deal with cases of domestic violence.
Júlio Sousa, municipal director of environment and sustainable development, represented Loulé mayor, who was unable to attend, and gave an oppening address.
Also in attendance were Carmen Rasquete, Secretary General of APAV, and Dinita Chapagain from Safe Communities Portugal who travelled from Lisbon to make presentations, as well as Lt Coronel Marco Henriques, Deputy Commander, GNR Faro District Territorial Command, and a representative from the National Support Centre for Migrants Integration (CNAIM).
Carmen Rasquete gave a comprehensive presentation on the work of APAV with some of the challenges they face, highlighting that the association had supported 17,951 victims of domestic violence during the pandemic (2020 and 2021). She emphasised the importance of cooperation between the institutions involved.
Marta Chaves, a clinical psychologist and the assistant-coordinator of the national programme for violence prevention at ARS Algarve (Algarve health authority), shared her considerable experience of domestic violence from a health perspective.
Diana Necker from the Association of Romanian and Moldavian Immigrants in the Algarve (DOINA) gave an overview of their work, the situations of migrants which they had helped and the various types of abuse that they had encountered. She highlighted the controlling nature of the abuser and made recommendations on how victims should proceed with assistance.
Dinita Chapagain from SCP gave an interesting presentation, with plenty of engagement from the audience, on the different languages, cultures and beliefs of the Indian, Nepalese, Pakistani and Bangladeshi communities in Portugal and their vulnerabilities. This presentation was well received and the GNR, APAV and CNAIM, based in Faro, expressed an interest in learning more from Dinita’s experience.
Captain Jorge Barbosa from GNR Faro District, who oversees investigation of domestic violence cases, explained the laws relating to domestic violence, the structure of the domestic violence unit based in Faro and Portimão, and the process concerning the safety and needs of victims who had been subject to abuse.
David Thomas, president of Safe Communities Portugal, said: “All five presentations were excellent, informative and well delivered in English and I am sure everyone learned a great deal from the close interaction and exchange of ideas between presenters and audience. Thanks also to Júlia Cardoso, from APAV Faro district, for co-organising.
“We encourage more of those involved in dealing with domestic violence, where the victims may be from different cultures within the migrant community, to attend and learn from such seminars in future or offer assistance as volunteers to various NGOs dealing with this subject.”