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, in the first eight months of the year, there were 20 deaths related to domestic violence. Data showed 29 deaths in 2015.
According to data from the Annual Internal Security Report, in 2015 there were 22,469 reports of domestic violence, a decrease of 2.2 percent from 2014. According to the report, in 2015 police registered 375 reports of rape, an increase of one case from 2014. Decreasing cultural and social tolerance of violent behavior is gradually motivating women to use the judicial system.
The law allows third parties to file domestic violence reports. The government encouraged abused women to file complaints with the appropriate authorities and offered the victim protection against the abuser. 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 99 cases of FGM/C by the end of 2015, of which 56 were new reports in 2015. None of the FGM/C procedures was carried out in the country; approximately half of the procedures were performed in Guinea-Bissau, the others in Guinea and other countries.
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 2015 the Association for Victim Support (APAV) received reports of 77 cases of sexual harassment.
Reproductive Rights: Couples and individuals have the right to decide the number, spacing, and timing of their children; manage their reproductive health; and have access to the information and means to do so, free from discrimination, coercion, and violence.
Discrimination: The constitution and the law provide women full legal equality with men. While the government enforced these in general, there were reports of economic, employment, and other forms of discrimination against women.