Lei Maria da Penha

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Brazil's Federal Law 11340, also called Lei Maria da Penha (Portuguese: [ˈlej mɐˈɾi.ɐ dɐ ˈpẽɲɐ], Maria da Penha Law) was put in place with the intent of reducing domestic violence. It was sanctioned on August 7, 2006 by the President, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (2006-2010).[1] Among the changes initiated by the law was an increase in punishment for those who practice domestic violence towards women. The law was put into practice on September 22, 2006; the first offender was arrested in Rio de Janeiro the next day, after trying to strangle his ex-wife.[2]

The name of the law is a tribute to Maria da Penha Maia, a woman whose ex-husband attempted to murder her twice, causing her to become paraplegic.[3] Today she is a notable figure in the fight for women's rights in Brazil.

This law states that aggressors are no longer to be punished with alternative sentences, increases the maximum sentence from one to three years, and also provides for measures ranging from removing the abuser from the home, to banning them from the proximity of the women and children attacked.[1]

This law is also notable for being the first Brazilian federal law that includes the term "sexual orientation": it says that "all women, regardless of ... sexual orientation ..., have the fundamental human rights."

Domestic violence between same-sex partners, be them male, female or transgender, and of a female against a male in a heterosexual relationship, are also a crime according to the law.[4]


Although the law came into force in 2006, by 2008 effectiveness of implementation was still a major issue. The feminist organization Brazilian Women's Articulation made efforts to promote and publicize the law in 2008 by organizing video conferences between women's rights activists from across Brazil.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Brazil Enacts Law on Violence against Women" (Press release). UNIFEM. August 9, 2006. Retrieved 2008-04-15. 
  2. ^ "Lei Maria da Penha" (in Portuguese). Site Oficial do Senado Federal do Brasil. Retrieved 16 April 2014. 
  3. ^ "Lei Maria da Penha". PCADV. Retrieved 2008-04-15. 
  4. ^ "Maria da Penha Law is also applied to protect a man". JusBrasil. October 31, 2008. Retrieved 2012-04-28. 
  5. ^ Sharmani, Mulki Al (2013-12-12). Feminist Activism, Women's Rights, and Legal Reform. Zed Books Ltd. ISBN 9781780329659.