Having a child: Gender equality and domestic violence in Portugal

Sharing tasks and responsibilities

The couple’s contribution to the care of the child supports the child’s development and well-being, providing them with role models they will emulate throughout their lives.

Children should feel free to discover who they are and who they want to be, without preconceived ideas about what they should do or think being imposed. This freedom should be encouraged, since it contributes to children’s happiness in all aspects of life, whether at school, in personal relationships and in wider society.

Children should be encouraged to:

  • choose their games and play freely, regardless of their gender
  • choose the field of study and occupation they wish to pursue
  • exercise and practise sports according to their preferences
  • learn to take care of themselves and to participate equally in all household tasks
  • to freely express their doubts and opinions on all subjects
  • interact with other boys and girls, to get to know each other and discover the uniqueness of each person.

Implications of domestic violence

Family relationships, and all intimate relationships, must be founded on respect and love. Domestic violence is never acceptable, because it violates people’s rights, destroys their dignity and puts their physical integrity, and even their life, at risk.

Parents are responsible for creating a nurturing, safe and violence-free environment. Any behaviour that seeks to dominate another person, or that forces their will or disrespects their rights, is violence, even if no physical aggression is involved.

Within a couple, domestic violence is defined as:

  • making threats or blackmailing
  • using children or other family members as a form of pressure
  • insulting, humiliating or demeaning the other person, whether in front of someone else or alone
  • preventing the other person’s contact with family or friends
  • preventing the other person from leaving the house alone
  • controlling the other person’s movements or physically following them
  • monitoring the other person’s telephone calls or text messages
  • preventing the other person from having access to money or property that belongs to them
  • forcing the other person to perform sexual acts against their will.

Sometimes children themselves are direct victims of the behaviours mentioned above. They can also be affected as indirect victims who witness the violence, because they see its effects on the victim, and may begin to live with fear, anxiety and feelings of guilt.

Domestic violence is a crime punishable under Portuguese law, and victims have the right to be protected.

Useful contacts

You can request support and/or report cases of domestic violence to the National Support Network for Victims of Domestic Violence [Rede Nacional de Apoio a Vítimas de Violência Doméstica]. Simply send a message to SMS Line 3060 or call 800 202 148. The service is free to use and operates 24/7.

It is also possible to report cases of domestic violence to the Guarda Nacional Republicana (GNR) or the police (PSP).  You can do this via the Electronic Complaint Portal.

Information updated on July 26, 2023