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Journal Article


Alves MJ, Manita C, Caldas IM, Fernández-Martinez E, Gomes da Silva A, Magalhães T. J. Interpers. Violence 2019; 34(3): 621-641.


Faculty of Medicine, University of Porto, Porto, Portugal CENCIFOR: Forensic Sciences Centre, Portugal University Institute of Health Sciences - CESPU, Portugal


(Copyright © 2019, SAGE Publishing)






Despite the occurrence of encouraging political and social changes in the past few years, many beliefs about women's role in intimate relationships persist, influencing their response to domestic violence (DV). This study aims to analyze the influence of recent policies against DV in Portugal, concerning particularly intimate partner violence against women and their perceptions about the victimization process. Two samples of women (n = 126 each) reporting an aggressive act allegedly perpetrated by the current or former male partner were interviewed with a hiatus of 5 years (before and after some most relevant policy updates).

RESULTS suggest a positive influence of the recent policies against DV. Many significant and encouraging changes were found in the more recent women sample (S2) relatively to the first sample (S1) regarding their information, awareness, perceptions, and attitudes toward DV. They seem to show less tolerance and endurance to DV, placing responsibility on the offender, as well as seem more empowered to report. In S2, there was a decrease in the acceptance of violent behaviors as normal and of reasons to explain violence; the fears, shame, and helplessness about DV; the elapsed time between the beginning of the abuse and its report; and the prevalence of more severe types of physical abuse. In S2, there was an increase on the acknowledgment of DV as a crime, the number of reports in cases without cohabitation, the report of psychological abuses, and the feeling of safety and assurance while reporting.

© The Author(s) 2016.

Language: en


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