Rape and Domestic Violence: Rape is a crime punishable by eight to 16 years in prison, and domestic violence is punishable by one to five years in prison. A “Special Law Project on Gender-Based Violence” (GBV) became law in 2011. This law was prepared by the ICIEG with the support of female parliamentarians and diplomatic representatives. The GBV law focuses on increasing protection of victims, strengthening penalties for offenders, and raising awareness about gender-based violence. The law calls for establishing several care centers, with financial and management autonomy, but implementation lagged due to inadequate staffing and financial resources. Violence and discrimination against women remained significant problems.
Rede Sol (a network that connects civil society organizations, the National Police, health centers, hospitals, and community law centers) covered 56 percent of the national territory and had representation on seven islands and in 12 of the 22 municipalities. The Ministry of Justice created Casas do Direito (Civil Rights Houses), which serve as public spaces that provide citizens with access to justice and promote civic participation. In 2013 the Casas do Direito received reports of 213 cases of GBV nationwide. In 2014 (as of September) 231 cases of GBV were reported to the Casas do Direito. During the year the government inaugurated centers to provide support to victims of GVB in five of the 22 Casas do Direito. These five centers were located on the islands of Santiago (2), Boa Vista (1), Fogo (1), and Sao Nicolau (1).
According to data from the INE, the total number of GBV cases registered by the National Police during the 2011-12 judicial year was 4,028. Of those, 1,138 were resolved and 2,890 were pending.
The government enforced the law against rape and domestic violence effectively.
Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C): The law prohibits FGM/C in accordance with the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (the “Torture Convention”), which outlaws such practices for religious, health, or other reasons.
Law 64/VII/2014 on religious freedom also strictly prohibits religious practices involving human sacrifices, neutering, excisions, and the impeding of medical treatment for minors or other dependents.
Sexual Harassment: The criminal code and the GBV law criminalize sexual harassment. Penalties include up to one year in prison and a fine equal to up to two years’ salary. Although authorities generally enforced the GBV law, statistics on prosecutions, convictions, and punishments for sexual harassment were not available. There was no official data on the number of cases of sexual harassment during the reporting period. Sexual harassment was common and widely accepted in the country’s culture.
Reproductive Rights: The civil code grants all citizens the freedom to make decisions regarding the number, spacing, and timing of their children; and the right to attain the highest standard of reproductive health without discrimination, coercion, or violence. All citizens had access to contraception. Family planning centers throughout the country distributed some contraceptives freely to the public. These centers provided skilled assistance and counseling, both before and after childbirth and in cases of sexually transmitted infections, including HIV. Prenatal services included ultrasound screening, tetanus vaccines, and blood tests, including HIV screening. Postnatal services included family planning and free oral/injectable contraceptives. There are no government policies that adversely affect emergency health care, including complications arising from abortion.
Discrimination: The law provides equal rights to men and women under family, labor, property, and inheritance laws. Cultural norms, traditions, and society, however, imposed gender roles that hindered the eradication of gender-based discrimination. Women had less representation in local politics, community associations, and in parliament. In the private sector, women held fewer management and leadership positions, and often received lower salaries than men for equal work (see section 7.d.). Indicators showed educational achievement, life expectancy, and access to sexual and reproductive health services were higher among women.