Brazil law turns crimes against under-14s heinous

Omission from reporting violence against minors may also be punished

Published in 26/05/2022 - 11:10 By Karine Melo - Brasília

Outlining harsh punishments for aggressors, the Henry Borel Law—named after the four-year-old boy who died in 2021 from internal bleeding after being beaten in the apartment where he lived with his mother and stepfather in Rio de Janeiro—was sanctioned without vetoes by Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro.

Included in it are protective measures for children and adolescents who fall victims to domestic and family violence, classifying the murder of children under 14 as a heinous crime. The piece of legislation was published Wednesday (May 25).

The Henry Borel Law also stipulates that in cases of imminent risk to the victim’s life or integrity, the aggressor must be immediately removed from the home or place of co-habitation. At any stage of the police or criminal investigation, the aggressor may be remanded in custody.

Qualified homicide

Another item in the new law amends Brazil’s Penal Code to regard the homicide of a person under 14 years as qualified, with sentences ranging from 12 to 30 years—expanded by one third to a half if the victim is disabled or has an illness that increases their vulnerability.

The increase may reach two thirds if the perpetrator is a parent, grandparent, or stepparent, uncle or aunt, sibling, spouse, partner, guardian, tutor, caretaker, tutor, or employer of the victim, or has authority over the victim in any other capacity.

Reports

Under the law, anyone who has knowledge of violence against children and adolescents or witnesses it must file a report through hotline Disque 100 of the National Human Rights Ombudsman’s Office, the guardianship council, or the police. Those who omit to do so may also be charged.

Translation: Fabrício Ferreira -  Edition: Maria Claudia

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