Home News Sexual crimes in Portugal increased 25% in two years

Sexual crimes in Portugal increased 25% in two years

Published on 21/10/2021

Inquiries into sexual crimes in Portugal grew 25% in the last two years, according to data from the PJ’s Sexual Crime Observatory.

The study shows that, between 2019 and 2020, there was an increase in inquiries in the area of ??sexual crimes by 25%, which represents more than 882 cases, going from 3,591 to 4,473.

“The analysis of the phenomenon shows that this increase is associated with the crime of child pornography, increasing from 888 inquiries in 2019 to 2,112 inquiries in 2020”, concludes the report.

One of the topics studied by the Observatory of Sexual Crime (OCS/PJ) was the evolution of the criminal phenomenon in the current context of the covid-19 pandemic, having concluded that there was a decrease in the number of inquiries about sexual abuse (from 1,362 to 1,250 ), sexual abuse of dependent minors (93 to 70) and in sexual acts with adolescents (146 to 108), in those two years.

The PJ’s inquiries on the use of prostitution of minors were halved (from 16 to 8), violations decreased from 564 to 432, sexual harassment from 193 to 172 and crimes of sexual coercion from 113 to 104.

An analysis of cases of sexual abuse of children and adolescents, whose inquiries ended in prosecution, from 2019 until the first half of this year, concluded that the most affected group of victims are between eight and 13 years old (83.9% in 2019 , 80.5% in 2020 and 78.9% by the end of the first half of 2021).

The age group from four to seven years old who were victims of sexual abuse is the second most affected in the same period of time (14% in 2019; 17% in 2020 and 21% by the end of the first half of 2021).

Children aged zero to three years represent about 2% of cases of abuse between 2019 and 2020.

As for the gender of victims, the study identified a female prevalence above 80%, specifically 84% in 2019, 82% in 2020 and 88% by the end of the first half of this year.

Regarding sexual offenders, the most prevalent ages are between 21 and 60 years old and are almost entirely men: 96% in 2019, 95% in 2020 and 98% by the end of the first half of 2021.

The prevalence of sexual aggression is ‘intra-family’, with the offender being parents between 11% and 16% of the time, an acquaintance of the family 14% of the time and strangers represent only about 10% of cases investigated by the PJ.

In Portugal, the PJ (Polícia Judiciária) are responsible for investigating sexual crime, with the assistance of the Observatory of Sexual Crime intended arrying out studies to “improve the conditions of care for victims of violent crimes and promote the development of good professional practices by investigators of the Judiciary Police”, based on monitoring sexual assault in the various contexts in which it occurs: adult victims, children and adolescents and online sexual assault.


The Observatory, which works at the Institute of Judiciary Police and Criminal Sciences, was created in 2020 to “collect, update, analyze and manage all activities developed on the phenomenon of sexual aggression and define intervention strategies”.

Original article available in Portuguese at http://postal.pt/