1.Everyone shall possess the right to freely express and publicise his thoughts in words, images or by any other means, as well as the right to inform others, inform himself and be informed without hindrance or discrimination 2.Exercise of the said rights shall not be hindered or limited by any type or form of censorship Constitution of the Portuguese Republic, Article 37.º

Algarve children’s refuge hides British shame

CASES OF British tourists behaving irresponsibly with their children while on holiday in the Algarve have hit the headlines more often since the disappearance of Madeleine McCann in May 2007.

This summer has already seen reports about two separate incidents involving drunk and seemingly negligent parents holidaying in the region.

The children who are the victims of such cases are normally taken for emergency care and housing to the Refúgio Aboim Ascensão in Faro, where director Luis Villas-Boas coordinates their immediate care at the refuge for children.

The refuge has been involved in numerous high profile cases involving foreign children, including the British baby that was abandoned at Faro airport in 2002 (see The Resident February 1, 2002) and most recently the eight-year-old British girl taken into protective care last month (see The Resident, August 29 and read story on page 2).

Often outspoken, Dr Villas-Boas, a clinical psychiatrist and retired Cavalry Colonel, told The Resident: “We have hidden the shame of the British in the past at the refuge. We try to avoid scandals here but the parents who were so drunk on May 3 that their children were brought to us should be ashamed of their actions (see The Resident May 9, 2008).
“These children were brought to us at the Refúgio at 4.30am. They were tired and distressed and although the parents are now saying that they were poisoned, I have proof on my desk that they were drunk.”


Dr Villas-Boas continued: “I would go to London and stand up in court and let the British know the truth about this couple, who were drunk with their children aged one, two and six, and their shame,” he said.

“We have created a tradition of competence which has been recognised by the courts and by the British State which has given us credibility in dealing with emergency cases.”

The refuge aims to either rehouse children with members of their birth family or, in cases when this is not possible, the children become adoptable in Portugal. “Between January and June this year, 43 children have left the home, with 22 adopted and the other 21 going back to their families,” said Dr Villas-Boas.

Although recognised in Portugal and internationally as an institution that provides exceptional emergency care and refuge to children in Portugal, Dr Villas-Boas says they are constantly in need of support.

“Because we are always focused on by the media, people think that we don’t need money, but of course we do,” said Luis Villas-Boas.

“Our staff, of more than 100, work 24 hours a day with dedication and sacrifice to provide for the children. If you would like to donate to us, we would ask you to come and visit us and the children first to see what the real needs are here. I would never ask a person to be a blind donor. Just call us to arrange a visit.”

For further information about the refuge, please visit www.refugioaa.org (English version currently being remodelled) or call 289 822 039. If you are concerned about the safety of a child, Luis Villas-Boas advises you to call 144. This is the national line for social emergencies and the operators speak English. The service is based in Lisbon but coordinates multiple services including the Bombeiros and GNR across the country.

Source: The Online Resident


  1. So,I propose to You,Kate and Gerry who have write a paper to P.E. and because in the exp. journal,you have said you are a "good example" of caring children; and,because you have ever a lot of money: help the Refuge Aboim Ascensão who helps a lot citizen Brit.s


  2. As an example of the British Government's view of "family life and values", it's instructing Councils to pay children up to £500 for spying on adults, those they should be brought up to respect and obey.

    Over and above hard working two parent families, the Government supports single parenting, free housing and benefit. Good parents will not allow their children to be used as something akin to Hitler youth in place of proper policing.

    The Government does not support full time parenting; it supports the use of overcrowded creches.
    Children are now commonly referred to as 'kids' in Britain. 'Kids' are baby goats.

  3. http://www.elmundo.es/elmundo/2008/09/06/internacional/1220677421.html

  4. Miliband reportedly prevented McCanns being detained and charged in Portugal. He spoke in defence of the reportedly drunk Irish couple who also fled, avoiding Court appearance.

    He's remained ominously quiet on the recent case of child neglect involving a British woman. Seems to depend on how it reflects on his involvement with and protection of the McCanns.

    British Government is too fond of poking it's nose into other countries business and legal systems. Smacks of dictatorship.

  5. updating site for information http://www.refugio.pt/


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