In 2006, the government passed the “Maria da Penha” law that provided the first clear definition of domestic violence
, tripled the severity of sentences for offenders and launched a $1 billion, four-year campaign in 2007 to increase governmental capacity to deal with violence against women at all levels.
Under the law, violence against women is “any action or omission based on gender which causes death, injury, physical, sexual, or psychological suffering or harm.”
Designed and implemented by the Special Secretariat of Policies for Women of the Presidency of the Republic (SPM/PR), several measures have been taken to help enforce the Maria da Penha law, including: the creation of special courts for domestic and family violence against women; trainings for law enforcement, judiciaries, and other public officials on the implementation of the law; the establishment of an Observatory for Monitoring the Implementation and Enforcement of the Law.
However, there has been a lack of funding for the latter that has left the Observatory without the means to perform its functions.
According to the most recent alternative report to CEDAW (2012), the Maria da Penha law has been challenged by judges from its inception on the grounds that only women can be defined as victims of violence (both men and women can be perpetrators), and there have been two Supreme Court challenges to the law.
It is unclear whether domestic violence is routinely reported (or more routinely reported than before the law).
According to the National Justice Council, between September 2006 and March 2011, there were more than 300,000 procedures involving domestic violence against women, with more than 110,000 sentences. However, because this data does not take into account the criminal courts or reports that do not make it to court
, the number of domestic violence incidences is actually much higher.
Even before the enactment of the Maria da Penha law, according to 2006 survey results, domestic violence was met with social disapproval, with 85% declaring that a man is never justified in beating his wife.
is covered under the 2006 Maria da Penha law.
The Penal Code defines rape as intimidation through violence or severe threat or the practice of any other obscene act.
The perpetrator cannot escape prosecution by marrying the victim, according to a 2005 report sent to CEDAW.
The Penal Code criminalises marital rape.
Recent research shows that unwanted sex and pregnancies are highly prevalent among women living in poverty and extreme poverty, as they do not feel free to decide when to have sex, or feel obligated to, with their partners.
The latest CEDAW report reveals that rates of violence against women remain high and on the rise: there was a “considerable increase in the number of reports on violence against women received by the Women’s Call Centre (number 180) between 2006 and 2009, from 12,664 to 40,857.”
The increase is said to be related to a rise in the number of people that report this type of act, especially with the publicity of Women’s Call Centre (number 180).
According to the most recent reports, the lack of progress in this regard may be due to the same failures in implementation noted in the domestic violence section above. There have been many civil-society campaigns to address the issue, including the Full Stop to Violence against Women and Girls Initiative, aimed at “changing cultural standards that legitimize violence.”
In addition, state-led initiatives have also been created, including one in the state of Rio de Janeiro on 4 June 2013, where, in 2012 alone, nearly 5,000 rapes against women were reported. The initiative (Law 6,457) creates an “integrated information and monitoring system on violence against women” tasked with organising and analysing data on violence against women, as well as putting into practice actions and organisations to help women victims of abuse.
In 2001, Brazil passed a bill outlawing sexual harassment
and setting prison sentences of up to two years.
According to the most recent alternative report to CEDAW, the National Plan for Human Rights Education included “proposed actions based on principles of coexistence, in order to build a school free of prejudice, violence, sexual abuse, harassment, and corporal punishment.”
In May 2012, the National Council of Education, approved Resolution nº 1/2012, National Policies for Education in Human Rights, which should be followed by all systems of education and educational institutions across the country.
In order to combat gender stereotypes among men, Instituto Promundo
and other partners, developed Program H, which addresses violence prevention and active fatherhood in promoting gender equality. The programme informs young men on sexual health and women’s sexuality and helps them to better understand their role in relationships, therefore encouraging them to look after themselves and others. Evaluations have shown positive changes in attitudes with regards to women and gender roles. 
There is no evidence to suggest that female genital mutilation is practised in Brazil.
Other forms of violence in Brazil include trafficking
The last two CEDAW reports have included recommendations that the country adopt comprehensive anti-trafficking legislation. 
In 2005, a law was enacted to combat this issue.
In Brazil, abortion
is only available to save a woman’s life, in cases of rape or incest
or in the case of anencephalus foetus (stillborn foetus).
 Law 11,340, the “Maria da Penha” law, enacted 7 Aug. 2006; CEPAL (2009); CEDAW (2010)  CEDAW (2010)  CEDAW (2010)  Alternative Report to the Brazilian Report to CEDAW, 2006-2009 (2012), p. 16  Alternative Report to the Brazilian Report to CEDAW, 2006-2009 (2012), p. 5  Alternative Report to the Brazilian Report to CEDAW, 2006-2009 (2012), p. 6  World Values Survey (2006)  CEDAW (2010)  http://www.impowr.org/content/current-legal-framework-rape-and-sexual-assault-brazil#sthash.5wew1zuO.dpuf http://www.iwraw-ap.org/resources/pdf/BRAZIL_SHADOWREPORT_CEDAW_June,18%5B1%5D.pdf, p. 8  Article 213 and Law nº12.015/2009  Silva, Patricia (2014) CEDAW (2011), CEDAW/C/BRA/Q7, p. 2  Alternative Report to the Brazilian Report to CEDAW, 2006-2009 (2012), p. 6, fn 14  Ortiz, Fabiola (2013)  BBC News (2001)  Alternative Report to the Brazilian Report to CEDAW, 2006-2009 (2012) To learn more visit: http://www.promundo.org.br/en/activities/activities-posts/program-h/  Alternative Report to the Brazilian Report to CEDAW, 2006-2009 (2012)  CEDAW (2011), CEDAW/C/BRA/Q7, p. 3  Law 11.106/2005  UN DESA (2013)  Federal Supreme Court decision (2012)