July 2023 | Parliament moves to protect victims of crimes against sexual freedom
Parliament passed amendments to the penal code and other access to justice legislation designed to improve protections for victims of “crimes against sexual freedom,” including rape and sexual coercion. The amendments, introduced by the ruling Socialist Party (PS) and developed under the parliamentary committee on Constitutional Affairs, Rights, Freedoms and Guarantees, extend the right of complaint for victims of rape or sexual coercion to one year (previously six months), and strengthens the basis for the Public Prosecutor’s Office to initiate procedures for such crimes. Victims of crimes against sexual freedom are also exempted from providing proof of economic insufficiency to access legal aid, updating an existing provision in the law on Access to Law and Courts applicable to victims of domestic violence. The decree was submitted to President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa for promulgation on 26 July.