Rape and Domestic Violence: The law makes rape, including spousal rape, illegal, with a penalty of three to 10 years’ imprisonment. 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 other than the spouse. The judicial system prosecuted persons accused of abusing women. In October a Porto appeals court caused national controversy by upholding an unusually lenient suspended sentence for a convicted spousal abuser who was motivated by adultery. On December 5, the Superior Council of Magistrates opened a disciplinary procedure against the ruling judges.
Violence against women, including domestic violence, continued to be a problem. According to preliminary data from nongovernmental organizations and media reports, in the first eight months of the year, there were 20 deaths related to domestic violence. Data showed 22 such deaths in 2016.
According to data from the government’s Annual Internal Security Report, in 2016 there were 22,773 reports of domestic violence, a small increase from 2015. In 2016 police registered 335 reports of rape, a decrease of 40 cases from 2015.
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 assistance, 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 negotiated protocols with local authorities to assist victims.
Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C): FGM/C is a crime punishable under 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. The third action plan to prevent and eliminate FGM/C increased awareness of the problem and helped lead to 80 reports in 2016, all involving girls over 15 years of age. None of the FGM/C procedures was carried out in the country.
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 2016 the Association for Victim Support received reports of 79 cases of sexual harassment.
Coercion in Population Control: There were no reports of coerced abortion, involuntary sterilization, or other coercive population control methods. Estimates on maternal mortality and contraceptive prevalence are available at: www.who.int/reproductivehealth/publications/monitoring/maternal-mortality-2015/en/.
Discrimination: The constitution and the law provide women full legal equality with men, and the government enforced the law.