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Year: 2009 Type: Report Language: English

This paper presented to the 'Pathways: What are we Learning?' Conference held in Cairo from 20-24 January 2009, aims at identifying and analysing pathways/conditions/possibilities of women’s empowerment related to the application of Maria da Penha Law (Law no. 11.340/2006), the first Brazilian federal law to combat domestic violence against women. Maria da Penha Law rises from thirty years of struggles led by Brazilian women and feminist movements. It is an extensive legal instrument – it covers a large number of aspects related to prevention and combating domestic and familiar violence against women, tends to CEDAW principles, and makes local, state and federal governments, as well as the justice sector, responsible for the creation and implementation of mechanisms to combat and prevent domestic and family violence against women. Indeed, for the first time in Brazil, all levels of government are legally implicated in this task, and one which demands comprehensive and integrated measures and mechanisms. Not surprisingly, feminist concerns on combating violence against women in Brazil are focused on the effective implementation of Maria da Penha Law. With that purpose in mind, NEIM articulated and is now coordinating a consortium of feminist NGOs, women’s research centres and feminist networks – the Observatório Lei Maria da Penha – that is developing a methodology to monitor this process of implementation in all of the country’s 27 states. This paper will discuss both the process of organizing for the monitoring, as well as the preliminary results and cases studies of research undertaken by the Observatório.