January Update from The Portuguese Association for Victim Support (APAV)

12 Jan, 2020

APAV promotes exhibition about cybercrime

The Portuguese Association for Victim Support (APAV) was responsible for the exhibition Armas do Século XXI [21st Century Weapons Exhibition], an initiative that aims to raise awareness of cybercrime issues as well as to promote the Linha Internet Segura [Safe Internet Line], whose main objective is to support and inform victims of online crime.

The display shows the public a contextualization of cybercrime, including data extortion, cyberbullying, child pornography, and other crimes taking place in the digital world. In addition to the equipment and data about cybercrime itself, the exhibition also presents, in video format, some real examples of individuals who have suffered digital crimes.

The exhibition took place in the Carpintaria de São Lázaro, Lisbon, from September 21st to November 24th, and was developed by APAV under the campaign Não é Preciso Ver para Crer – launched in September. The purpose of this display was to prevent online risky behavior, promote the reporting of illegal content, and promote Safe Internet Support services for cybercrime victims.

Since January 2019, APAV has joined the Safe Internet Consortium and coordinated the Safe Internet Line services. Through telephone or online contact, the Safe Internet Line, in addition to helping victims, encourages safer use of the Internet and advises the adoption of safe online behaviors.

In 2018, more than 20,000 individuals who were victims of digital bullying were identified: of these, 4200 suffered from identity theft crimes and about 1,000 children were exposed in child pornography films. Among Portuguese cybernauts, 78% say they are poorly informed about how to protect themselves against cybercrime threats. This lack of information extends to the rest of the world, and it is estimated that at least 400 million people fall victim to cybercrime every year.

APAV develops project on ageing and violence against the elderly

The Portuguese Association for Victim Support (APAV), in cooperation with Calouste Gulbekian Foundation (FCG), is developing a social innovation project, named “Portugal Mais Velho”, which main objective is, through research, reflection and communication, promote the change of policies (public, social and private) in the area of ageing.

Although the phenomenon of violence against older people is not new, concern about its size and consequences increases as the population ages. Focusing on the ageing of the population and, in particular, on violence against the elderly, APAV and FCG are working side by side, believing that, through social advocacy actions and by raising public awareness about the theme of violence against the elderly, this problem can be better solved.

The project is being developed by one large work group and a restricted one, and based on the proposals produced by both groups, political, social, and economic decision-makers will be addressed.

“Portugal Mais Velho” is expected to map the failures currently observed in the policies that affect the elderly and, in particular, the deficiencies in the prevention and response to violence against the elderly.

The project will then seek to gather recommendations for changing public policies and suggestions for good practices that foster the full integration of older people into society and combat violence against them.

Around 70 professionals – from areas such as psychology, social services, health, journalism, or law – have already been interviewed on the theme.

Another expected result is the promotion of society’s awareness of ageing and violence against the elderly, making them aware of this reality and enabling them to act when there are episodes of violence.

Ageing is one of the biggest challenges of the 21st century. There still is a widespread negative and unfair perception of ageing, which results in the association of the condition of the elderly by the younger sections of the population, to fragility, dependency, disease and little or no productivity.

Also, the recognition of the victimisation of older people has been slow, but today it is an increasingly evident phenomenon within the process of world population ageing.

According to the APAV’s latest report on the crime and violence committed to the elderly (“Pessoas Idosas Vítimas de Crime e de Violência 2013-2018”), between 2013 and 2018, APAV registered a total of 6,878 cases supporting the elderly, of which 5,482 were victims of crime and violence. These figures translated into a total of 12,815 criminal acts.

Around 28% of the elderly whom are victims of crime and violence had between 65 and 69 years old. According to the data collected by APAV, the lion share of the victimisation situations is continued.

According to the Portuguese Ethics Council [National Ethics Council for the Life Sciences], improving the protection of this group of society against violence against itself will not only be achieved through responses from health services, the criminal justice system or the social security system.

On the contrary, the fight against violence against the elderly must pass through the serious promotion of a cultural change that implies an ethical and humanist reflection about the State, families and caregivers’ actions.

APAV and FCG expect to conclude the project in June 2020. 

November 25th: Raising awareness on International Day for Eliminating Violence Against Women

A total of 43,456 cases of support for people who are victims of domestic violence were registered by APAV between 2013 and 2018. These figures translated into a total of 104,729 criminal acts, a reality that still shows the necessity of raising awareness to a worldwide problem.

Noting November 25th, International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, APAV promoted and associated itself with various initiatives to raise awareness among the community.

One of them was the #ImpopularSayings campaign. This initiative by the Portuguese Republic and the IGC – Commission for Citizenship and Gender Equality intends to prevent and combat violence against women and domestic violence by deconstructing popular sayings by emphasizing the idea that violence is not a private affair.

APAV promoted some exhibitions to raise awareness in different cities of Portugal, participated in the March to End Violence Against Women – that took place in Lisbon –, and was represented by its president, João Lázaro, in the debate “Violence Against Women – A challenge for the Portuguese NHS”, specifically in the panel “The role of health in eliminating violence against women”. The event took place at the Lisbon Psychiatric Hospital Center – Health Park and had the opening of the Secretary of State for Health, António Lacerda Sales.

APAV also created a partnership with Crime+Investigation Channel. From 25th to 29th of November, Crime+Investigation presented a special schedule dedicated to violence against women. In addition to this programming, the channel joins APAV with a one-year television and digital campaign. The campaign, entitled “Stop Violence Against Women”, is part of a European channel initiative that will run through 2020.