Daphne Toolkit

VSRI - Preventing Sexual Violence in Intimate Partner’s Relationships

Project Reference Number: 

VSRI - Preventing Sexual Violence in Intimate Partner’s Relationships


Aim & Context

The project aimed at a general awareness towards sexual violence in intimacy relationships, a general recognition that sexual violence is a form of violence in intimacy relationships, from all the different professionals working in the Domestic Violence Network.

The project main objectives were:

  • professionals from the different intervention areas of the Domestic Violence Network recognise sexual violence as a form of violence in intimacy relationship;
  • change their personal attitudes towards sexual violence in intimacy relationships;
  • considering sexual violence in intimacy relationships as a form of domestic violence, realise the importance of integrating the issue in their professional intervention with domestic violence victims, subsequently adjusting their behaviour regarding the problem and its victims; and
  • identify services/resources for attending and referring cases of VSRI.



The project had 4 major activities.

  • Study on the beliefs and attitudes of central public administration professionals in the 5 sectors, a study carried out by Instituto Universitário da Maia/Maiêutica.
  • Awareness sessions for the 5 sectors central public administration professionals, conducted by 3 civil society organisations UMAR – Alternative Women’s Union and Response, APAV – Victim Support Association, and AMCV – Association of Women Against Violence.
  • Awareness campaign, based on materials produced during previous activities: Film/Spot subtitled in ENG, Posters (6), Banners (6) and Professionals Manual.
  • Final impact assessment: Due to the pandemic situation, the campaign has been suspended. Another edition of this campaign is planned for the last 2020 trimester (and by the end of the year, another survey will take place).



Activity 1: The study key results indicate that participants consider VSRI a private issue, despite the fact that domestic violence has been a national public crime for almost 2 decades. These professional acknowledge the absence of specific training on the topic, understanding, with few exceptions, that they do not have the knowledge, skills and/or resources to intervene with victims of sexual violence. Stating also that the absence of intra and inter-sectoral networking for providing a sustainable and non-revictimising intervention for domestic violence victims. Furthermore, sexual violence is seen as a complex and hard to approach topic for professionals and for victims, which causes intervention to be either too general or inexistent.

Activity 2: The results of the study were directly presented to all associated partners and were collected contributions and suggestions for the awareness-raising /training part of the project. Although evaluated as useful, the awareness actions has a less than desirable duration. There has been some resistance in addressing certain topics and, in others, sexual violence suffered by the victims is considered somehow natural. Thus, and despite the actions showing positive results, the trainers stressed the importance of investing in continuous training of these professionals. Professionals highlighted the existence of several gaps in their intervention (knowledge, skills, resources), some asymmetry. All activity results reinforce the need for more training and knowledge in all sectors.

Activity 3: The awareness campaign was built in collaboration with the associated partners, the NGOs involved in the awareness sessions and also with ISMAI, responsible for the study and evaluation of the project. The general goal is, when exposed to the film/spot, posters or banners, teased by these images and messages, the professionals feel the need to explore the manual and look for more extensive training. Taking into account the invisibility of the phenomenon, one of the most consensual aspects in this campaign-building process was the need to produce a guide of good practices that could contemplate transversal aspects of intervention and action towards the victims, but also specific aspects of intervention by each of the sectors.



Target population is the key for this project success. AMCV was responsible for 10 training actions to Justice and Security sectors, UMAR was responsible for 10 training actions to Social Security and Education sectors, and APAV was responsible for 5 training actions to the Health sector, covering a total of 862 trainees, 524 females and 338 males. These professionals were the ones affected directly by the project. Nevertheless, it has always been one of the project’s messages the responsibility that these professionals have in spreading this message, in disseminating the project campaign materials. As previous referred the target groups were, (and are) multipliers of this message, especially among their sector peers (also mention that the campaign materials were disseminated through sectorial channels/tools.