Brazil: New research on open data and cases of femicide

Civic Space 5 min read
ARTICLE 19

On International Women’s Day, ARTICLE 19 launched its latest report:”Data on femicide in Brazil – #InvisibilidadeMata”, which provides research and analysis on the availability of data on femicide in Brazil.

The rate of femicides in Brazil currently ranks fifth highest in the world. According to the research “Map of Violence 2015”, the number of murders stands at 4.8 for every 100 thousand women. The same map points out that, between 1980 and 2013, 106,093 people died because they were women.

Findings from a new research project “Femicide Dossier” expose the scale of violence against women in Brazil. Their data shows that in 2010 there were five beatings of women every two minutes, while in 2013 there was one women killed every 90 minutes. In turn, the complaint call service “Ligue 180” recorded 179 reports of aggression against women per day in 2015.

Our work evaluates nine databases on femicide cases from September to November 2017, according to 15 criteria around open data for public policy. It also provides recommendations on how data can be improved from the point of view of intersectionality, quality, and information value.

ARTICLE 19 aims to contribute to the collection and dissemination of quality data which can be used effectively in the fight against femicide.

Although data currently available raises awareness of femicide in Brazil, it is still insufficient to inform public policy and prevention mechanisms. It is important to remember that the Brazilian Law on Femicide was only adopted in 2015 and data production on cases still has a long way to go.

For ARTICLE 19, femicide and violence against women in Brazil are very serious problems that in the short term require emergency measures and, in the medium and long term, require adequate and effective public policies. It is fundamental that the Brazilian government collect, and make available data on violence against women and femicide to give maximum visibility to the issues.

Recommendations

ARTICLE 19 further recommends that the Brazilian Ministry of Justice includes in its Plan of Action for the Open Data Policy:

  • publication of a femicide database; and
  • outline obligations for frequency of updating data and synchronization of publishing data with other public agencies
  • Create a standardization for the collection and dissemination of femicide data.
  • Create a nationwide data system that is centralized and adequately funded.
  • Improve the quality of the femicide data collection system with a focus on appropriate awareness and training of public administration responsible for the task.
  • Include in the Action Plan for the Open Data Policy of the Ministry of Justice the need to update monthly data on femicides and to produce national data from data already generated by public institutions — such as the Ministry of Health, Police, Ministry Public and the Ministry of Justice — in order to guarantee its traceability.

Background information

  • The Brazilian Femicide Law came into force in March 2015. It increases the penalties for perpetrators of homicide crimes against women. The minimum penalty passed from 6 to 12 years and the maximum, from 20 to 30.
  • According to the Global Index of the Open Knowledge Foundation, Brazil ranks 8th best globally on the state of open data.
  • Since 2016, Brazil holds a decree affirming the Federal Government’s commitment to open its data.

Intersectionality of data

Brazil is a country deeply marked by racism, which in turn also directly influences violence against women: 

Another worrying factor concerns violence against Brazil’s transgender population. According to the Transgender Europe organization, in its Trans Murder Monitoring report of 2016, from 2008 to 2016, 868 trans people were murdered in Brazil.

Therefore, it is very important that data provided by the public agencies allows for disaggregation  by race, color and ethnic group criteria.  We also need to identify the cases in which the victims were trans. This information is essential to developing effective public policies capable of combating these problems.

In the research of ARTICLE 19, only three of the analyzed databases included a filter based on the race of women murdered. This state of insufficient information was also highlighted by The Transgender Europe report, who also confirmed that data was difficult to obtain.

Read the report in Portuguese.