The Portuguese social security system has a Social Emergency Help Line (LNES) - 144 (Linha Nacional de Emergência Social, LNES - 144). This is a public service provided by the Institute for Solidarity and Social Security (Instituto de Solidariedade e Segurança Social, ISSS, I.P.).
Calls to this national number are free of charge, 24 hours a day, all year round, to protect and safeguard the safety of citizens in a social emergency.
The LNES deals with two main types of situations:
- Crisis – this is a situation where people feel very vulnerable and unprotected. It is due to the lack of minimal short term survival conditions and requires an urgent intervention and referral to the Social Action Local Services (Serviços Locais de Ação Social, SLAS).
- Emergency – this is a situation where people feel very vulnerable and unprotected. It is caused by a lack of minimal short term survival conditions which presents a real and imminent danger to the physical, psychological and emotional integrity of the individual/family, thus requiring immediate intervention.
This helpline can be used by anyone in a social emergency, including:
- domestic violence
The National Social Emergency Help Line (Linha Nacional de Emergência Social) provides an appropriate, immediate and efficient response to emergency situations within a maximum period of 72 hours. Response is provided, as a rule, by the next working day after the emergency was reported.
- identifies and provides an immediate response to social emergency situations
- advises and refers to other helplines and/or institutions that are better equipped to deal with the situation
- provides accessibility to services
- refers individuals in serious social exclusion situations for follow-up services.
The Social Emergency Help Line (Linha Nacional de Emergência Social) works in partnership with the following entities:
district and local social service centres (Centros Distritais de Segurança Social/ Serviços Locais de Ação Social);
Portuguese Association for Victim Support (Associação Portuguesa de Apoio à Vítima);
municipal councils and parish councils (Câmaras Municipais and Juntas de Freguesia);
Commission for the Protection of Children and Young People (Comissão de Proteção de Crianças e Jovens);
the National Republican Guard (Guarda Nacional Republicana);
hospitals and health centres; private social solidarity organisations (Instituições Particulares de Solidariedade Social);
Child Help Line (Linha de Emergência Infantil);
European Emergency Number – 112;
Help Line for the Elderly (Linha do Cidadão Idoso);
Friendly Voice SOS Line (Linha SOS Voz Amiga - helpline assisting cases of general suffering, e.g. loneliness, anxiety, depression, suicide risk);
Drug Abuse Helpline (Linha Vida – SOS Drogas);
Public Safety Police (Polícia de Segurança Pública);
Santa Casa da Misericórdia (large Portuguese charity);
Immigration and Border Service (Serviço de Estrangeiros e Fronteiras);
and the national civil defence service (Serviço Nacional de Proteção Civil).
To contact this service, dial 144.