The pandemic has forced us to remain inside for unprecedented periods of time, which has proved very difficult, but for victims of domestic violence, this means being trapped with their aggressors.
According to Lusa, the Commission for Citizenship and Gender Equality (CIG) reported that “the contact lines of the Information Service for Victims of Domestic Violence (SIVVD) received 1696 requests for help between March 2020 and January 31, 2021.”
The SIVVD was founded in 1999 as a free, anonymous, and confidential telephone service operating 24-hours a day throughout the year to support victims of domestic violence, however, private phone calls are difficult when confined to the same space as the aggressor. The vice president of the CIG, Manuel Albano, told Lusa that “before the pandemic, the victim could eventually leave the house, pick up the phone and call without anyone listening, now, since they are confined and accompanied 24 hours a day, it can be heard and this could lead to an increased risk of violence.”
For this reason, the Secretary of State for Citizenship and Equality created two new resources last year to reinforce the SIVVD – the SMS 3060 text message line, which is also free and confidential, and the email line [email protected]. Both services are open every business day, between 9 am and 5:30 pm.
According to the SIVVD website, “The professionals working the SIVVD lines have been specially trained to provide psychosocial care, provide information about victims’ rights, and recommend resources throughout Portugal…where one can obtain psychological, social and legal information safely and securely.”
“The basic principle [of the Information Service] is to empower the victim, empower them based on information that is transmitted to them so that they make conscious decisions – whatever they may be – and with a sense of the actions and paths they can take, as well as their consequences,” Albano told SIC Noticias.
Publico reported that in 2019 there were 35 deaths as a result of domestic violence and a further 30 in 2020, along with more than 11,000 PSP-registered cases of domestic violence in the first nine months of the year — an average of 40.5 cases per day. “Such records show, even so, a decrease of 8.58% in relation to the same period of 2019″, the Public Security Police (PSP) said in a statement.
If you find yourself a victim of domestic violence, contact information for SIVVD is below, and they are ready and willing to discreetly help you: