Cablegate: Cda Gathers Influential Women to Partner On the Elimination


DE RUEHBR #0010/01 0051357
R 051355Z JAN 10



E.O. 12958: N/A

REF: 09 STATE 120322; 09 BRASILIA 1365


1. In an effort to highlight the work of activists and
organizations at the forefront of addressing violence against
women, on December 9 Charge d'Affaires, a.i. Lisa Kubiske and
emboffs visited Civil Police Chief Sandra Gomes de Melo at the
Women's Precinct (DEAM) in Brasilia. The next day, the CDA hosted
a luncheon for prominent women law enforcement and judicial leaders
in honor of the International Day for Human Rights to learn more
about the opportunities and challenges for women in Brazil, and to
discuss how our two countries may partner more concretely to
promote the advancement of women. All of the contacts expressed
strong interest in a partnership with the USG on working toward
raising awareness, assistance programs and stronger prosecution of
perpetrators of domestic violence. Although both GOB and USG
resources remain limited, we plan to continue to promote dialogue
and cooperation on this topic to successfully implement many of the
proposed programs.



2. Specialized women's precincts (DEAMs) were created 25 years ago,
the first in Sao Paulo. Although there are around 400 DEAMs in
Brazil, most are in the South, and a few are in the Northeast.
There is one DEAM in Ceara in the Northeast because of the efforts
of Maria da Penha - the first woman to fight for the sentencing of
her husband for domestic violence and the stimulus for Brazil's law
against domestic violence (Reftel 09 Brasilia 1365). CDA and
emboffs visited the (22 -year old) DEAM in Brasilia with the
highest number of domestic violence reports (40 percent) in the
Federal District. Primarily female police officers and chiefs work
in 24-hour shifts, divided into groups that have one police chief,
four policewomen and one clerk. There is also a multidisciplinary
team with one social anthropologist, one social worker and two
psychologists who offer assistance to the women. All women who
come to the precinct have a right to shelter at a shelter house
provided by the state government. They are entitled to a forensic
medical examination for evidence and there they receive a kit
containing new clothing and toiletries. The old clothes are kept
as evidence in case charges are brought against the assailant.
Ongoing renovations to the precinct will include private interview
rooms for women to file their reports and a play room for children.

3. The police also have a mobile precinct van that is equipped with
laptops connected to the police database (see photo attached
photo). These vans go to underserved neighborhoods to hear
complaints and educate women on how and when to complain and on all
their rights. They train community leaders, volunteer prosecutors,
professors, and medical doctors as part of this effort to educate
women about their rights. Their plan is to expand this program and
teach domestic violence awareness to adolescents in 2010.

4. There are approximately 9000 cases of violence against women a
year in the Federal District of Brasilia which has a population of
about 2.5 million; 4000 of the cases are filed in the precinct
visited, and each case receives a police investigation and
write-up. The precinct chief guesstimated that approximately one
third of domestic violence reports received here are taken all the
way to prosecution. Many judges offer treatment or therapy to the
violator instead of sentencing.


5. The following day, the CDA hosted a lunch for prominent women
leaders including Ellen Gracie Northfleet, Justice of the Supreme
Court and a former Fulbrighter; Ambassador Vera Lucia Barrouin
Machado, U/S for Political Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign

Affairs; Chief Sandra Gomes de Melo, Head of the Women's Precinct
in Brasilia who just launched the "Safe Women" Project; and Saba
Cordeiro Macedo of the Federal District section of the Brazilian
Bar Association.

6. The CDA used the lunch to set the stage for future cooperation
on gender issues. A GOB proposed bilateral MOU on gender, now
under consideration in Washington, has a strong emphasis on
bilateral judicial, law enforcement, and political cooperation to
promote women's rights, including the fight against gender-based
violence and equal access to the judicial system. With that in
mind, the CDA encouraged a focus on justice and the law enforcement
sector to target those that need this specific assistance. The CDA
emphasized the importance of women's issues to the Secretary of

7. Our Brazilian guests identified the primary challenges facing
victims of domestic violence, among them, that the perpetrators are
not often brought to justice due to the current judicial system,
which allows for multiple appeals. There is a breakdown after the
charges are presented and often these cases do not make it into
court either due to lack of financial resources from the victim or
the way they are counseled and made to feel that it would be
problematic for them to pursue prosecuting the father of their
children or other such suggestive comments.


8. Challenged to develop ideas for concrete projects, participants
at the meeting agreed to ask top level attorneys to commit to pro
bono work with the goal of bringing more criminals to justice. This
would also encourage younger lawyers to be engaged in cases of
violence against women.

9. Women's Precinct Chief Melo discussed the goals of a recently
launched Brazilian "Safe Women" Project:

- To make people, specifically women, aware of domestic

- To encourage women to use the services available to protect

- To provide a more humanized service to those who become a

- To enforce the Maria da Penha law.

10. Participants at the lunch agreed to support this project
through the following initial actions:

- Initiate a campaign similar to "Dress for Success", through
which women can donate clothes, shoes, and accessories. These
items would go to women of low income communities, who are victims
of violence, have low self esteem, and are afraid to go to court to
face their assailants.

- Engage with the Brazilian Bar Association to inspire new
lawyers to work with women's issues.

- Involve women and men in the advertising industry to create
campaigns countering violence against women.


11. With the departure of Brazil's RLA due to a lack of funding, it
will be more difficult to follow up on these issues, among others,
in which the RLA was leading our partnership effort with Brazil.
Nonetheless, we plan to continue to encourage this open dialogue
between the USG and the GOB, and to include prominent local women
leaders in UN organizations and NGOs to work toward common
interests in the elimination of domestic violence and punishment
for those that commit this crime.

The Civil Police mobile precinct van. Pictured from left to right:
Vera Galante, Public Affairs; Meribeth Culver, Political; Chief
Sandra Gomes de Melo Head of the Women's Precinct in Brasilia; Lisa
Kubiske, Charge d'Affaires, a.i.; and Socorro Leal, Political.

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