The few specialized police stations in ES do not comply with the Maria da Penha Law

The few specialized police stations in ES do not comply with the Maria da Penha Law
The few specialized police stations in ES do not comply with the Maria da Penha Law
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The few Specialized Women’s Assistance Police Stations (DEAMs) existing in Espírito Santo do not comply with the provisions of the Maria da Penha Law (LMP). The assessment is by lawyer and sociologist Layla Freitas, president of the Commission of Criminal Lawyers in Espírito Santo (Abracrim Mulher/ES) and coordinator of the Legal Center of the extension and research program at the Federal University of Espírito Santo Fordan: culture in confronting violence ( Fordan/Ufes), based on Law No. 14,541, sanctioned in April 2023 by President Lula, one of the many updates to the Maria da Penha Law.

“The law provides for 24-hour operation, including Sundays and holidays, for women’s police stations across the country. Despite the government’s repercussions, the room project was barely implemented. Out of 18 police stations, only five have this adaptation in Espírito Santo”, he informs.

The worst thing is that, even in these five, all located in Greater Vitória, the operation is not face-to-face and specialized, as the law requires. “It is important to highlight that not only the creation of a physical space [a sala Maria], but also a humanized environment and treatment are essential to prevent women from being revictimized. Having the Maria room, but not having a delegate or clerk for in-person assistance, nor a social worker and psychology professionals, doesn’t solve the problem,” she adds.

The specialist’s warning counterpoints the defense made by the State Government that it is implementing the Maria da Penha Law. In releasing data relating to the number of murders and femicides recorded by the Secretariat of Public Security and Social Defense (Sesp) in the first quarter of 2024, Secretary Eugênio Ricas highlighted. “This women’s month, we launched our Marias rooms, which will help to humanize and speed up the care of these victims in our 24-hour police stations in Greater Vitória. Previously, there was a lot of travel for the specialized unit that centralized these incidents in Vitória. Now, the woman will be able to receive care in her own municipality and without any type of contact with the aggressor”, he said, without mentioning, however, how much remote assistance from the police chief and clerk harms and revictimizes women who seek care.

The law is considered by the United Nations (UN) to be one of the three best aimed at protecting women, highlights Layla Freitas. However, its implementation is far from being done satisfactorily in Espírito Santo. “The Maria da Penha Law has been updated more than 30 times. It is necessary to identify whether the necessary employees are working at the police stations and whether they are trained and updated for this work.”

A new service that has actually worked well, he emphasizes, is related to the transportation offered to the victim after treatment or on any other route they need. “The allocation of vehicles for these women to drive is a positive highlight in combating gender-based violence.”

Underreporting

Regarding the data released, indicating a drop in women’s deaths, Layla Freitas also warns about the possibility of underreporting. According to Sesp, “there were 21 murders of women in 2024, of which eight were caused by gender crime. Last year, the first quarter recorded 25 deaths of women, ten of which were femicides. The reduction reaches 16% in total”.

The lawyer asks for attention. “We have the figure of underreporting, a common fact, which can influence the numbers presented”, she states, based on situations known to Fordan / Ufes, such as reported in January by the program coordinator, Rosely Pires, in relation to an unregistered femicide in Cariacica, in 2023.

There is also underreporting in other crimes against women, which do not amount to murder or feminicide, a reality that arises from some practices that are still prevalent, such as the misinterpretation of the Maria da Penha Law by public security agents and also the “macho environment of specialized police stations “, he states. “It is common for women to report encounters where staff try to make them give up making the complaint. It is also very common that, even when they manage to not give up, the clerk or police chief insists on questioning the veracity of the fact they narrate.”

The article is in Portuguese

Tags: specialized police stations comply Maria Penha Law

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