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Critical reflections on punitivism and the control policies defined by Brazilian federal law number 11,340 of 2006 (the “Maria da Penha” law)

Forensic Research & Criminology International Journal
Sergio Torres Teixeira, Débora de Lima Ferreira Gonçalves Cerqueira


Feminist movements, aiming for “empowerment”, demanded greater criminal penalties, which resulted in the creation of the Maria da Penha Law – Law No. 11,340/2006. The increase in abstractly foreseen penalties legitimizes the objective of the legal system, but this rule is inappropriate for domestic and family problems, manifesting penal symbolism. The criminal justice model, despite repressing violence, has not been effective given the complexity of this phenomenon and the peculiarities of the victims in question. Along this path, this work intends, under the aegis of Critical Criminology, to understand the aspirations raised by feminist movements from Law No. 9,099/95 to the punitive increase resulting from Law No. 11,340/2006, as well as to identify the symbolic mechanisms of criminal policy to combat domestic violence, through the analysis of data collected in the Brazilian Public Security Yearbooks of 2022 and 2023. The results will clarify the social, economic and cultural changes associated with late modernity of reduced effectiveness of social control and growth in the rate of crime, in addition to demonstrating the changes felt due to the punitive tendency of the Maria da Penha Law. It is clear that the great challenge is not in creating legislation and justifying women’s rights, but rather in finding ways to protect and prevent them from multiple forms of violence.


maria da Penha law, criminology, control policiy, punitivism