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.
Birth Registration: Citizenship is derived by birth within the country’s territory and from one’s parents. Authorities registered all births immediately.
Child Abuse: Child abuse was a problem. The Association for Victim Support reported 826 crimes against children under the age of 18 in 2016. There were reports Romani parents used minor children for street begging. A child-abuse database is accessible to law enforcement and child protection services. The government prohibits convicted child abusers from work or volunteer activities involving contact with children. It also carried out awareness campaigns against child abuse and sexual exploitation.
Early and Forced Marriage: The minimum age for marriage is 18 for women and men, but both sexes may marry at 16 with the consent of both parents exercising parental authority, or a guardian, or, in default of the latter, a court decision.
Sexual Exploitation of Children: Statutory rape is a crime with penalties ranging up to 10 years in prison, and authorities enforced the law. The minimum age for legal consensual sex is 16. The law prohibits child pornography. Penalties range up to eight years in prison.
International Child Abductions: The country is a party to the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. See the Department of State’s Annual Report on International Parental Child Abduction at travel.state.gov/content/childabduction/en/legal/compliance.html.
Estimates placed the Jewish community at 3,000-4,000 persons. In contrast with the previous year, there were no reports of anti-Semitic acts.
After the country passed a law in 2015 granting descendants of Jews forced into exile centuries ago the right to citizenship, the government received 8,800 requests and naturalized 713 applicants for citizenship as of August 27. The largest numbers were from Turkey (171), Israel (56), and Brazil (39). The institutions of the Jewish community in Lisbon or Porto vetted each application. These institutions are responsible for checking documentation of the applicants’ ancestors and making recommendations to the government.
Trafficking in Persons
See the Department of State’s Trafficking in Persons Report at www.state.gov/j/tip/rls/tiprpt/.
Persons with Disabilities
The constitution and law prohibit discrimination against persons with physical, sensory, intellectual, and mental disabilities. The government effectively enforced the law. The law mandates access to public buildings, information, and communication for persons with disabilities, but no such legislation covers private businesses or other facilities.
The procedure to file a complaint of racial discrimination continued to be lengthy and complicated. The complaints system against police officers concerning racist or racially discriminatory acts was not functional.
The government estimated the Romani population to be between 40,000 and 50,000 persons. A large number of Roma continued to live in encampments consisting of barracks, shacks, or tents. Many settlements were in areas isolated from the rest of the population and often lacked basic infrastructure, such as access to drinking water, electricity, or waste-disposal facilities. Some localities constructed walls around Romani settlements. Reports of police harassment, misconduct, and abuses against Roma continued.
In some localities the government provided integration and access to services for the Roma, including vaccination campaigns, monitoring of prenatal care, scholarship programs, assistance in finding employment, and a mediation program staffed by ethnic Romani mediators in the Office of the High Commission for Immigration and Intercultural Dialogue.
Acts of Violence, Discrimination, and Other Abuses Based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity
The constitution and the law prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.