HomeNewsBriefBrazil Toughens Legislation on Femicides
BRIEF

Brazil Toughens Legislation on Femicides

BRAZIL / 12 MAR 2015 BY DAVID GAGNE EN

Brazil has strengthened and broadened existing legislation on femicides, but the new law is no guarantee authorities can lower the country’s high rate of violence against women.

On March 9, President Dilma Rousseff signed a new femicide law that carries a minimum prison sentence of 12 years for homicides resulting from domestic violence, reported BBC. Penalties are set even higher for the murder of girls under the age of 14 or women over the age of 60, as well as for pregnant women. The law also expands the definition of femicide to include any crime involving domestic violence or gender discrimination.

On March 8, Rousseff had announced the law would be passed during a speech on International Women’s Day, according to O Globo. The Brazilian president said on average 15 women are killed every day in the country. Rousseff added this legislation is in keeping with Brazil’s “zero tolerance policy on violence against women.”

Nevertheless, the UN Representative of Women in Brazil, Nadine Gasman, said enforcement of the new law may be hindered by a “culture of machismo,” reported BBC Brasil.

InSight Crime Analysis

Brazil’s new femicide legislation takes aim at the high level of gender-based violence in Brazil. According to the country’s 2012 Map of Violence Against Women (pdf), Brazil ranked seventh out of 84 countries in terms of prevalence of femicides, with a murder rate of 4.4 per 100,000 women.

SEE ALSO: Brazil News and Profiles

Nevertheless, it remains to be seen if the new law will have a tangible impact on femicide rates in Brazil. According to Rousseff, 15 other countries in Latin America have laws on the books that specifically address gender violence. However, eight of the 12 countries with the highest rates of femicides from 2004 to 2009 worldwide are in Latin America or the Caribbean, according to a 2012 report by Small Arms Survey (pdf). As Gasman alluded to, stiffer laws must be accompanied by adequate implementation, or else women will continue to suffer high rates of victimization.

It is difficult to judge the correlation between organized crime and femicides in Brazil. However, a 2014 report by the Brookings Institute found that the department of Amazonas was a “hotspot” for femicides, and also registered the highest number of sex trafficking cases in 2012. While sophisticated criminal groups typically orchestrate transnational human and sex trafficking networks in Latin America, it is nevertheless unclear whether areas in Brazil with greater organized crime activity also have higher indices of femicides.

From a regional perspective, the UN Human Rights Office has identified the growth of organized crime structures as a principal cause for the high levels of violence against women in Latin America. An Associated Press investigation in 2014 found members of El Salvador’s two largest street gangs, the Barrio 18 and MS13, frequently use rape and femicide as a way to terrorize communities.

Compartir icon icon icon

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Related Content

COLOMBIA / 8 JAN 2019

Turbulence reigned in 2018, but there was one constant: the flow of Venezuelans fleeing their country. The unceasing migration has…

BRAZIL / 4 APR 2017

New statistics show that police in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil continue to use lethal force at high rates, a dynamic…

BRAZIL / 9 MAR 2017

Authorities in Brazil have announced a new strategy to reduce illegal logging and timber trafficking in the Amazon, but the…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

We Have Updated Our Website

4 FEB 2021

Welcome to our new home page. We have revamped the site to create a better display and reader experience.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Events – Border Crime: The Northern Triangle and Tri-Border Area

ARGENTINA / 25 JAN 2021

Through several rounds of extensive field investigations, our researchers have analyzed and mapped out the main illicit economies and criminal groups present in 39 border departments spread across the six countries of study – the Northern Triangle trio of Guatemala, Honduras, and El…

BRIEF

InSight Crime’s ‘Memo Fantasma’ Investigation Wins Simón Bolívar National Journalism Prize

COLOMBIA / 20 NOV 2020

The staff at InSight Crime was awarded the prestigious Simón Bolívar national journalism prize in Colombia for its two-year investigation into the drug trafficker known as “Memo Fantasma,” which was…

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – From Uncovering Organized Crime to Finding What Works

COLOMBIA / 12 NOV 2020

This project began 10 years ago as an effort to address a problem: the lack of daily coverage, investigative stories and analysis of organized crime in the Americas. …

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – Ten Years of Investigating Organized Crime in the Americas

FEATURED / 2 NOV 2020

In early 2009, Steven Dudley was in Medellín, Colombia. His assignment: speak to a jailed paramilitary leader in the Itagui prison, just south of the city. Following his interview inside…