Rape and Domestic Violence: The law makes rape, including spousal rape, illegal, and the government generally enforced the law when the victim chose to press charges and the cases were not settled out of court through mediation. Violence against women, including domestic violence, continued to be a problem. According to preliminary data from NGOs and media reports, during the first 11 months of the year, there were 39 deaths related to domestic violence.
According to data from the Annual Internal Security Report, in 2013 there were 27,318 reports of domestic violence, an increase of 2.4 percent from 2012. According to data from the report, in 2013 police registered 344 reports of rape.
The law provides for criminal penalties of up to 10 years’ imprisonment in cases of violence by a spouse, and the judicial system prosecuted persons accused of abusing women. Decreasing cultural and social tolerance of violent behavior is gradually motivating women to use the judicial system.
The government encouraged abused women to file complaints with the appropriate authorities and offered the victim protection against the abuser. In addition the law allows third parties to file domestic violence reports. The government’s Commission for Equality and Women’s Rights operated 14 safe houses for victims of domestic violence and maintained an around-the-clock telephone service. Safe-house services included food, shelter, health, and legal assistance. The government-sponsored Mission against Domestic Violence conducted an awareness campaign against domestic violence, trained health professionals, proposed legislation to improve legal assistance to victims, and signed protocols with local authorities to assist victims.
Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C): FGM/C is a crime covered and punishable by law.
Sexual Harassment: Sexual harassment is a crime with penalties ranging from one to eight years in prison. If perpetrated by a superior in the workplace, the penalty is up to two years in prison, or more in cases of aggravated coercion.
The Commission on Equality in the Workplace and in Employment, composed of representatives of the government, employers’ organizations, and labor unions, examines, but does not adjudicate, complaints of sexual harassment. In 2013 the Association for Victim Support (APAV) received reports of 69 cases of sexual harassment.
Reproductive Rights: Couples and individuals have the rights to decide freely the number, spacing, and timing of their children, to attain the highest standard of reproductive health, and to have the information and means to do so, free from discrimination, coercion, and violence.
Discrimination: While the law provides women full legal equality with men, women experienced economic and other forms of discrimination. According to 2013 data from Statistics Portugal, women made up 48 percent of the working population and increasingly were represented in business, science, academia, and the professions. The law requires equal pay for equal work. According to the Ministry of Solidarity, Employment, and Social Security, however, women’s average salaries were approximately 27 percent lower than men’s, and the gap was widening (see section 7.d.).
The secretary of state of parliamentary affairs and equality addresses, among other topics, problems such as economic discrimination and integration of women into the mainstream of society. The Business Forum for Gender Equality brings together companies that commit to incorporating into their management strategies the principles of equality between women and men, and to combatting all forms of gender discrimination in the workplace. The forum partnered with the government’s Committee for Equality in the Workplace and was open to all businesses in the country.