Home>Services>Prevention of and Intervention in Domestic Violence>Center for Assistance to Domestic Violence Victims

Social intervention concerns, which are quite evident in the goal that guided the creation of this charitable institution (to provide a concerted response to family-related problems) combine, from the outset, with work in partnership with the various local and national institutions and organizations.

The experience in GAF’s daily assistance service and the analysis of the social needs in the District (of Viana do Castelo) have enabled us to confirm the existence of serious shortfalls in terms of social inequalities in various segments of the populace. In order to respond to these needs, the GAF has been structuring its intervention so as to provide answers to related problems and those generating social exclusion (such as drug addiction and/or alcoholism, HIV-positive infection, delinquency, jail time previously served, homelessness, immigration, unemployment and/or precarious employment, socio-economic needs, family dysfunctionality and/or socio-family breakdown, domestic violence, children at risk, among others).

Thus, the GAF adopts a multidisciplinary, personalized and multidimensional intervention strategy, guiding its action/intervention so as to contribute toward social [re]integration and, subsequently, improving the quality of life of socially and/or economically disadvantaged groups, in an attempt to offset and minimize the impact of exclusion-generating factors, while promoting equal opportunities. And so, it provides services that are essentially free of charge (from assistance/monitoring to institutional sheltering), as monitored individuals/families are found to experience extreme economic shortages.

The GAF has been geared toward technical qualification and adopting intervention methodologies that are more accurate, controlled and deliberate. Through the concerted initiative of various modes of intervention, the GAF seeks to create conditions toward achieving a personal and family balance conducive to the co-construction of life projects based on differentiated assumptions. Therefore, the idea is to outline new life goals (that are realistic, feasible, concrete and time-dependent), by fostering a critical attitude, self-esteem and a sense of personal competence, empowerment, recognition and development of personal, relationship and job skills, while displaying individual and family strengths and skills.

Community Aid

This is geared to a target population that includes families/individuals experiencing economic shortage, providing technical services (psychological consultation, social and legal aid) while distributing foodstuffs, clothing and furniture, whenever necessary.

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Insertion Community

With capacity for 12 users under an accommodation scheme and 18 as daytime lodging, this is essentially geared to the homeless while providing housing and meals services along with a set of activities that fall under various modes of intervention.

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RSI Protocol

The target population includes families/individuals benefiting from the Rendimento Social de Inserção (RSI) or Social Integration Income, promoting their systematic and multidisciplinary monitoring.

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Housing Shelter

What is it?

The GAF’s “Dar Voz às Mulheres” (Giving Women a Voice) Housing Shelter, in existence since 2000, constitutes a temporary shelter for risk situations, geared to women who are domestic violence victims, either with or without underage children and who have no resources other than institutionalization.

It comprises a multidisciplinary team consisting of experts in psychology, law and the social field who, combined with direct action assistants, develop systematic, intensive and personalized monitoring of sheltered persons, ensuring basic living conditions (in terms of accommodation, meals, hygiene and health) in a safe, tranquil environment that is favorable to the co-construction of new life projects.


Promote autonomy and provide safety and well-being to women who are domestic violence victims, and to their sheltered children.

Specific goals

• Ensure the quality of basic living conditions (accommodation, food, hygiene and safety) while providing conditions required for complete health and well-being;

• Increase the level of adjustment and psychological adaptation;

• Reduce the impact of abuse while heightening resilience capability;

• Promote personal and social skills facilitating autonomization and overall normal development;

• Develop parenting and family skills that facilitate the normal development of sheltered children and/or young people;

• Improve the quality of the informal support network;

• Foster investment in a life project;

• Enhance the ability to manage material and financial resources;

• Promote training and vocational qualification;

• Develop active job-searching skills;

• Provide knowledge of civil rights and duties and of the effective use of formal support resources;

• Promote social and civic participation.


Bearing in mind the extent of the stated goals, the team responsible for the Housing Shelter offers systematic, intensive and deliberate monitoring, while providing personalized services (psychological consultation, legal consultation and social monitoring) that meet individual needs and specific goals.

Thus, the Housing Shelter ensures basic living conditions (accommodation, food, hygiene and health) along with a set of activities that fall under various modes of intervention:

• Sheltering and evaluating personal and family needs and skills;

• Psychotherapeutic intervention;

• Intervention in parenting relations and practices;

• Streamlining group activities and therapeutic groups;

• Technical support in the pursuit of the life project;

• Development and streamlining of daily organization and household management activities;

• Information and monitoring for use of community resources;

• Vocational counseling and active job-seeking support or referral to educational and training courses;

• Education and information on civil rights and duties.


• 1 Technical Director

• 1 Senior Social Service Officer

• 1 Psychologist

• 1 Lawyer

• 5 Direct Action Assistants

Family Support and Parental Counseling Center

A differentiated service seeking to supplement the intervention of existing family support services, via a (multi)systemic, intensive intervention developed within actual contexts, and aiming to foster strengthening families and preventing physical, psychological and social adaptation problems for children and young people.

HIV/AIDS Psychosocial Assistance Center

Provides services involving psychological consultation, social and legal aid as well as logistical support in situations specific to persons/families infected, affected by and/or concerned with the problem of HIV/AIDS.

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Drug Addiction Support Unit

Its intervention aims to support and promote the positive development of individuals and/or families whose life story shows addictive behaviors (with or without an abstinence period) or that are at risk for substance use/abuse.

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Occupational workshops aimed at developing across-the-board skills that facilitate socio-vocational integration.

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Funded by the Employment and Vocational Training Institute, this provides the community with car-wash services by hand and aims to promote the social and occupational integration of unemployed and disadvantaged persons relative to the job market.

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