Senate changes Maria da Penha Law and organizations ask Temer veto the proposal

The measure was voted on in the House and symbolically heralded as positive.
12/10/2017 15h19 - Updated 12/10/2017 15h19
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The Senate approved, on Tuesday (10), National Day to Combat Violence Against Women, project amending the Law Maria da Penha, in order to allow the police officer to grant urgent protective measures to women who have experienced violence and their dependents, a right which is now exclusively with the judges. The measure was voted on in the House and symbolically heralded as positive, but members of the public prosecutor, General Public defenders and women's organizations criticize the changes. They ask that President Michel Temer veto the proposal.

The project provides that the granting of measures by the delegate will be accepted only in case of actual or imminent threat to life or physical and psychological integrity of women and their dependents. The police authority shall notify the decision to the judge and also consult public on up 24 hours, according to the proposal, to define the maintenance of decision. Among the measures that can be applied in case of violence, They are banning the offender to contact or approach the offended, their families and witnesses, vetoing it from attending certain places in order to preserve the physical and psychological integrity of the attacked, and referral of women to support network for victims of violence.

In justification of the proposal authored by Mr Sergio Vidigal (PDT-ES), It states that it will accelerate the examination of applications, to ensure security, and which aims to promote improvements in the combat system to domestic violence against women. In this sense, also determines what should be prioritized the creation of specialized police service to women (Beam), investigative nuclei of femicide and specialized teams for the care and investigation of serious acts of violence against women; It establishes that the victim of violence must be met, preferably, other women; and sets guidelines for listening to victims and witnesses, as ensuring that they are heard in isolated and specific location and that there will be no contact with suspected or investigated.

change, However, It is far from consensual. Even before the adoption of the proposal, various institutions were against, including the National Human Rights Group and the Standing Committee to Combat Domestic and Family Violence against Women of the National Council of Prosecutors General of Public Prosecutions of the States and the Union; the Special Commission for the Promotion and Defense of Women's Rights National College of General Public Defenders, as well as organizations which drew up the draft bill Maria da Penha (Cepia, Cfemea, The overthrow of the out of the Themis,) and other women's groups, women's and human rights.

Faced with the changes, Leila Linhares Barsted, director of the NGO CEPIA - Citizenship, Study, Search, Information and Action and one of redatoras text of the Maria da Penha Law, said organizations working in defense of women's rights will ask President Michel Temer veto the proposal.

She explains that, instead of signifying advancements, the approved project subverts the logic of the Maria da Penha Law and its focus on ensuring women's access to justice and support network, as host and health care institutions. "We, women who work in the original proposal, really wanted to guarantee women access to justice, which is provided for not only in the Constitution, but specifically for women, international conventions of the United Nations and the Organization of American States [OAS]”, recalls Leila.

Access to justice
She explains that the standard in force provides for the competence of the judiciary in determining measures, giving the police a duty to guide the victim on protective measures and other issues, as case record, in addition to support her to fetch belongings at home. for Leila, and the right of women to have access to the courts, this is important because this is when the victim is accompanied by the Ombudsman, receive support and information on their rights. "It's a way to strengthen these women, knowing their rights and requiring, effectively, the protective measures, and away conciliation mechanisms so commonly used ", says, reporting that, at police stations, women are often discriminated.

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