What is Maria da Penha Law?

The Maria da Penha Law is the Federal Law number 11.340, which was approved by the Plateau on 07 August 2006. This is a specific law for cases of domestic violence against women.

The Maria da Penha Law is rooted in article 226 of the Constitution of Brazil, whose writing is “The family, the basis of society, has special protection of the State”, and more specifically paragraph 8 says that “the State shall ensure assistance the family in the person of each one of the integrating, creating mechanisms to suppress violence within their relationships”.

Thus, the Maria da Penha Law, according to paragraph 8 of Art. 226 of the Constitution says, appears to restrain the domestic and family violence. In addition, the law provides for the creation of courts of domestic and family violence against women, and also creates mechanisms to provide assistance and to give protection to women who are living in circumstances of violence within their families.

Although the Brazilian constitution already make it clear that all people, women included, of course, have rights that are inherent to the human person, the Maria da Penha Law is a form of viable public policies that are more specific to curb this type of violence. And in this sense the State should provide the necessary conditions so that women, like all people, have their rights guaranteed.

It is important to remember that this duty to ensure the safety and freedom of women is not only in the State, the family, the society and the state, jointly, shall make efforts in this direction. Moreover, these efforts should be to all people, and not just for women.

Article 5 of the Maria da Penha Law says that if you configure domestic violence against women as “any action or omission based on gender that causes death, injury, suffering physical, sexual or psychological damage, moral or patrimonial” in the scopes of the domestic unit, in the context of the family, and in any intimate relationship of affection.

This means that the scope of the Law Maria da Penha is one of the convivial atmosphere of people, be they of the same family or not. The scope of the family is understood as any community formed by people who consider themselves related, whether by natural ties, or by affinity. And by relations of affection, if you understand the relationships in which the abuser lives with the offended party, regardless of whether or not there is a sexual relationship between them.

An important question to be asked is that the sexual orientation of the persons named as the aggressor and the offended party does not mean that the law does not apply. For example, a woman who lives with another in a same-sex relationship, if agrida, the partner could be framed in the Maria da Penha Law. The object of the law is domestic violence against women, regardless of gender or sexual orientation of the abuser, because domestic violence is a violation of human rights.

This means that, in a relationship between mother and daughter for example, it is possible that there is a frame by the Maria da Penha Law, once the Law has been to protect the woman who is in a situation of vulnerability and suffer violence within the home environment. Is the aggression of the daughter against the mother or the contrary, of the mother against the daughter.

By way of example, the text of the Maria da Penha Law brings a series of forms of violence against women:

  • Physical violence, which is any conduct that offends the physical integrity or health body;
  • Psychological violence, which can be any conduct that causes emotional damage, decreased self-esteem, which undermine the full development or that degrade or control the actions of the woman. Any type of threat, humiliation, manipulation, coercion, exploitation, insult, blackmail or ridicule are considered as psychological violence, among others;
  • Sexual violence, which is any action that will embarrass the woman to participate in, observe or maintain a sexual relationship not desired by her. Actions that will induce the woman to commercialize or to use your sexuality in a way that is unwanted, which means that it is sexual violence against women to prevent them to make use of contraceptive methods. Finally, any action that would limit or override the exercise of their sexual and reproductive rights;
  • Violence to property, which is the conduct of retaining, subtract, destroy part or all of goods, objects, work instruments, personal documents, values, and economic resources of the woman
  • Moral violence, which is any libel, defamation or slander against the woman.

The Law Maria da Penha, inaugurated a few protective measures that are applied by the judge in the case. Between these feathers is the temporary removal of the perpetrator, the establishment of minimum distance between the perpetrator and the victim, and even the suspension of the sized weapons, or the suspension of the possession of weapons by the perpetrator. There may be also the suspension of visits to the minors dependent children of the perpetrator with the victim. Can be determined by the judge, the payment of child support provisional or force it to provide food to the family.

How did the Maria da Penha Law

The story of the Maria da Penha Law is very iconic and reflects the reality of many women and families in Brazil and in the world.

Maria da Penha Fernandes was a woman from ceará who lives in the Fortress, and analogues of that, during the 23 years of marriage, she suffered from domestic violence. Her husband was the colombian Marco Antonio Heredia Viveros, who in 1983, attempted to assassinate the Maria da Penha twice.

In the first attempt, he simulated an assault and, making use of a firearm, shot him in the Maria da Penha, which left her paraplegic. In his second attempt to murder her, the husband eletrocutou and tried to drown her. After the second assassination attempt, the Maria da Penha denounced her husband and the process took 19 years to complete, and the husband was sentenced to 8 years in prison.

Marco Antônio fulfilled only 2 years in prison on a closed basis, having been able to serve the sentence in freedom by means of an appeal on justice. The case took on international importance when two bodies of international law and the defense of the woman made a complaint of the case to the inter-American Commission on Human Rights.

Brazil was, on this occasion, condemned. It has been proved that the country did not have effective mechanisms in combating domestic violence against women.

For this reason, in 2006, it was approved the Law no. 11,340, which came to increase the penalties in cases of domestic violence against women and also assist in fighting this type of crime.

The Maria da Penha law for men

It is very common to ask if it is possible to invoke the Maria da Penha Law to cases where the man is the victim of violence within the family environment. The answer is no, since the Maria da Penha Law is quite clear in their articles, when it defines its specificity for women who are victims of domestic violence.

However, it is necessary to make a consideration, which also ensures to man the same rights as woman when it is a victim of violence. The brazilian Constitution is very clear when it says that all people have rights inherent to the human condition. There are a number of crimes described in the Brazilian Penal Code, where a woman can be criminally framed the case to be) of a man, because the Law, according to the act governs the constitution, it does not make difference between men and women.

The bail amount the Maria da Penha Law

The value of the guarantee is supervised by the judge of the case after following the due process of law and to draw attention to what is given in the Code is Worth a Brazilian. The code provides guidelines to judge the possibility or not of a payment bond on the part of the perpetrator.

The Maria da Penha law is worth

The penalties applied to the perpetrator, framed by the Maria da Penha Law have validity even if there is reconciliation. It is common that the perpetrator and the victim to think that from the moment that there is reconciliation worth determined by the judge to lose its effectiveness. This is not true, even though the perpetrator and the victim return to live together and declare that there has been reconciliation, the perpetrator will need to fulfill the totality of your worth.

The Maria da Penha law updated

There is a bill pending in the house of representatives that, if approved, will change the Law Maria of the Penha. This draft law provides for some protective measures to the woman victim of domestic violence may be immediately applied by the delegate who receives the complaint. This procedure aims to give greater protection and more effective action of the public authorities in cases of domestic violence against women.This can immediately rule out the offender from the victim and accomplice to be avoided the recurrence of aggression until the process reaches the hands of a judge.

If approved this change, the delegate must apply the protective measurement and report to the judge within 24 hours, in order that the judge may maintain, suspend or change this measure. The Public Ministry must also be informed immediately about the issue.


Maria da Penha Law