Rape and Domestic Violence: The law makes rape, including spousal rape, illegal with a penalty of three to 10 years in jail. The government generally enforced the law when the victim chose to press charges and the cases were not settled out of court through mediation. The law provides for criminal penalties of up to 10 years’ imprisonment in cases of domestic violence by a spouse or by a person not the spouse. The judicial system prosecuted persons accused of abusing women.
Violence against women, including domestic violence, continued to be a problem. According to preliminary data from NGOs and media reports, during the first nine months of the year, there were 23 deaths related to domestic violence.
According to data from the Annual Internal Security Report, in 2014 there were 22,959 reports of domestic violence, an increase of 0.1 percent from 2013. According to the report, in 2014 police registered 374 reports of rape, an increase of 8.7 percent. 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 the law. There were reports FGM/C was practiced on young girls in poor African communities, particularly by Bissau-Guinean immigrants. The government addressed the problem at various levels, and the third action plan to prevent and eliminate FGM/C was in effect during the year. The plan increased awareness of the problem and helped lead to the registration of 43 cases of FGM/C in 2014.
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 2014 the Association for Victim Support (APAV) received reports of 59 cases of sexual harassment.
Reproductive Rights: Couples and individuals have the right to decide freely the number, spacing, and timing of their children, to manage their 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, including under family, labor, property, nationality, and inheritance laws, women experienced economic, employment, and other forms of discrimination (see also 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.