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From sejup1@ax.apc.org Mon Feb 14 12:53:00 2000
Date: Sun, 13 Feb 2000 23:02:38 -0600 (CST)
From: SEJUP <sejup1@ax.apc.org>
Subject: News from Brazil, No. 387
Article: 88936
To: undisclosed-recipients:;

SEJUP (Servico Brasileiro de Justica e Paz), News from Brazil, No. 387, 11 February 2000

Domestic Violence

Jornal Femea, November 1999

The question of domestic - or intrafamilial - violence is still not sufficiently discussed and only now has begun to become more visible. This phenomenon is practically unknown in Brazil, principally because of a lack of absolute data that would help to describe analytically the phenomenon as a whole.

At the end of the 80s, IBGE (Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics) testified that 63% of the victims of physical aggression occurring in the domestic sphere were women. For the first time, this specific type of criminality was recognized officially. Today, new studies and surveys are being done by state organs and NGOs, contributing to the increased visibility of the problem. A research study entitled Domestic Violence: a question of the police and society, coordinated by a professor at PUC/SP, traces the national panorama of domestic violence in Brazil using cases registered at police stations. Since 1994, the study has analyzed more than 170,000 police reports taken at Women's Police Stations in 22 capital cities and cities in the interior of SP. Also being studied are 849 initiated criminal lawsuits. The study is projected to end in 2000.

The first results gathered in SP show that bodily harm is the principal complaint registered by women at the police stations. Lawsuits analyzed up to this point show that 81.5% of the cases referred to painful body harm, which means that the evidence of aggression is sufficient enough for the police to take the case to court. Of the remaining cases, 4.47 % referred to rape or attempted rape, 7.7 % to threats and 1.53% to seduction. Half of the women assaulted were between 30 and 40 years old.

Some of the information suggests a change in the women's mentality because today they seek help earlier. In the Women's Police Stations in SP, the number of reports of threat increased, but the number of reported aggression dropped. Nevertheless, what appears to be an advance also reveals a contradiction when this information is compared to the quantity of legal processes without conclusion: 70% were filed, in the majority of cases by the accuser's intervention, who altered her deposition on the promise from her companion that he would change his attitude. In the end, the justice system also contributed to the impunity: in 21% of the cases studied the accused was absolved, yielding a proportion of 10 defendants absolved for every one condemned.