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Ascending from Silence: Unveiling the Dark Realities of Domestic Violence in Portugal

There's a haunting reality lurking within the realm of domestic violence in Portugal, where the laws intended to safeguard victims often fall short.

Despite the existence of a 2007 law addressing abuse, the application within the Portuguese courts remains minimal, casting shadows of doubt on its effectiveness.

Unveiling the Overlooked Struggles:

While the focus of combating and preventing domestic violence has largely centered on the immediate victims, the children in these distressing scenarios have been left in the shadows.

A scarcity of studies delves into the experiences of these children, leaving a critical gap in understanding the far-reaching consequences of such environments.

Professionals who work closely with these young individuals reveal the multifaceted impact of their traumatic experiences.

Consequences Reaching Beyond Trauma:

Margarida Medina Martins sheds light on the profound consequences, sharing that many of these children require therapeutic support upon entering shelters. Some exhibit behaviors such as bed-wetting at ages when it's no longer developmentally expected.

These external signs of internal turmoil underscore the deep-seated scars that often result from witnessing domestic violence.

Enduring Courage Amidst Adversity:

Two survivors, Alexandra and Cláudia, exemplify the resilience that can emerge from the darkness of such experiences.

While they managed to escape physical manifestations of trauma, their psychological battles were no less arduous. Alexandra's journey included conquering fear to ultimately liberate herself from its clutches.

On the other hand, Cláudia navigated a path filled with suspicion and self-protection, while also confronting her vulnerabilities. Their stories underscore the intricate web of emotions these children grapple with.

Shining a Light on Neglected Focus:

Daniel Cotrim, a psychologist with the Associação Portuguesa de Apoio à Vítima (APAV), highlights the necessity of shifting focus onto the children of domestic violence victims.

He emphasizes that these children have too often depended on the goodwill of support workers, underscoring the urgency to provide comprehensive aid.

Addressing the myths surrounding domestic violence, dispelling notions of male dominance, and nurturing these children's emotional resilience are pivotal steps toward breaking the cycle of abuse.


As Portugal grapples with the discrepancy between existing laws and their implementation, the lives of countless children remain ensnared in the cycle of violence.

By shedding light on their experiences, this issue demands acknowledgment, understanding, and comprehensive action to ensure a brighter, safer future for these young survivors.


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