APAV received a warm congratulation for joining the UK on the National Stalking Awareness Day on April 18th, which was officially launched last year by Scotland and England and Wales.
Hence, APAV launches this year its first National Stalking Awareness Day and will do so by launching a leaflet and a website on the phenomenon [www.apav.pt/stalking]. Hopefully this will be a key opportunity to raise the awareness to this form of victimisation that is not yet recognized has a crime in Portugal.
Our slogan is "Take stalking seriously" ("Levar o stalking a sério") and we aim to raise the awareness of the general public for the negative and sometimes life threatening consequences of stalking for its victims.
"A study has shown that young people are more aware of dating violence, but still only nine percent of victims file a complaint to the authorities.
“Young people are more aware of dating violence, but still very few request help and only nine percent of victims file a complaint to the authorities,” said researcher Sónia Caridade.
“Dating violence is characterised by feelings of shame and embarrassment, and a great majority of youth are not seeking help,” said the author of the study on this subject.
The fear of being blamed, of not being able to keep the situation a secret, of having the adults pressure them into ending the relationship, of not receiving the help needed, and of parental punishments (since many relationships are not allowed by parents) makes young people hesitate in telling others what they are going through.
Friends are the main confidants
“Their main confidants are usually friends, but a majority are not equipped to give adequate support. They themselves might also be involved in abusive relationships, or they legitimise a set of beliefs that perpetuate the phenomenon,” explained a researcher at the Universidade do Minho, when speaking about the purpose of Valentine’s Day.
To raise awareness among young people about this problem, the Portuguese Association for Victim Support (APAV) has conducted campaigns to address the importance of recognising all acts of violence as behaviors that are punishable by law.
“It is fundamental to invest in these young people to raise awareness and foster in them a proactive attitude whenever these situations arise,” said Manuela Santos from APAV.
The decision of a young person to file a complaint or expose this experience to a police officer is not easy to make, usually preferring to go to an institution of support. “APAV receives some requests for help from young people who would share with us their experiences of victimisation and ask us for support and referrals about what they can do from a legal standpoint,” said Santos, adding that these requests have been growing.
For researcher Susan Lucas from the Piaget Institute, prevention campaigns have contributed to a shift in paradigm where dating violence does not have to be “something hidden and have shown people that they are not alone”. “Fortunately there is already a demand [from young people] for the authorities and associations to support the victim, who comes forward to them to go through proper legal procedures,” said Lucas, adding that abuse begins around 13 years of age.
The frequency of violence is “higher” among youth with less education and among boys who are taught to be stronger, emotionally inhibited, competitive and domineering with their partners. A culture of prevention involving the promotion of healthy relationships, young people’s awareness and modification of violent behavior is, according to Caridade, the best way to combat dating violence. For this to happen, there must be a concerted effort among young people, institutions, organisations, educational providers (parents, teachers, and staff), peers and the community."
Source: P3 [Público]
In 2011 APAV supported almost 7.000 women victims of violence, which means that every day an average of 19 women are seeking support in the network of free and confidential services provided by our organisation.
Violence against women continues to be one of the core problems in society. This is why it is crucial to continue to raise the awareness towards it.
The 25th of November, International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, raises the perfect opportunity to launch the most recent awareness raising campaign of APAV.
In partnership with LINTAS and Ignition Ativism, this campaign participated in the international competition Create 4 the UN – “SAY NO to Violence Against Women” - and was selected as one of 15 best campaigns.
“Until death do us part” is the campaign motto.
On February 22nd - the European Day of Victim of Crime - APAV will host a debate seminar based on the theme, “Sexual Violence against Children”. The event will be held at the Fontana Park Hotel (Lisbon).
APAV has invited the following presenters to the panel: Rui do Carmo (General Prosecutor); Carlos Poiares (Universidade Lusófona de Humanidades e Tecnologias); Alexandra André (Judicial Police); Alexandra Anciães (Instituto Nacional de Medicina Legal e Ciências Forenses); and Eduardo Sá (psychologist). There will be an opportunity for an open debate, moderated by journalist Rita Marrafa de Carvalho.
It was just published the Directive 2012/29/EU of 25 October 2012 establishing minimum standards on the rights, support and protection of victims of crime. Voted by the European Parliament and approved with an overwhelming majority on the 12th of October 2012, this Directive will bring about a stronger set of rights for victims of crime and guarantee that all victims of crime enjoy the same basic rights in criminal proceedings and have access to victim support services and compensation.
Among other things, the innovative character of this Directive includes establishing an individual assessment of the specific needs of every and each victim, the obligation imposed to Member States of providing free-of-charge and confidential victim support services and the guarantee that victims will receive information about their rights in a language they can understand.
To the Portuguese Association for Victim Support (APAV), and as a non-governmental organisation that believes and works to ensure that the victim statute is fully recognized, valued and effective; this is clearly a step forward towards the protection of crime victims.
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