2004 Winner
Winners:
Special Coordinating Office of Public Policies for Women, State of Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil
2004
Publication:
The Public Management and Citizenship Program in Brazil
Sponsored By:
The Public Management and Citizenship Program in Brazil
Jurisdiction:
Brazil

More information in Portuguese about this award-winning program.

Research carried out in October 2001 by the Perseu Abramo Foundation with 2,500 women showed that 43% had been the victim of some form of gender violence. But denouncement is rare; only 31% of gun threat cases, 21% of beatings and 19% of threatened beatings reach the authorities. In Mato Grosso do Sul, the government has sought to guarantee women's rights and in 1999 implemented the Program for the Prevention and Combat of Violence against Women. The Special Coordinating Office of Public Policies for Women (CEPPM) was created, with an important role in constructing communication between public management and civil society in regards to gender issues.

The actions carried out by the Program, coordinated by the CEPPM, include professional training courses, the implementation of Women's Health Units, literacy courses for adult women, publicity campaigns about gender issues and gender training for government and society professionals. In the first semester of 2004 alone, 900 public employees received training. The Civil and Military Police training courses in Campo Grande began to include a subject named "Gender Relations and Violence against Women", in an effort to change the conservative and authoritarian models that usually characterize these corporations. Courses on gender relations and women's rights were also offered to members of social movements, students from the professional training courses in several municipalities (including a number of Indian villages), members of Councils and to the women taking part in the School Fund Program (Programa Bolsa-Escola).

>In the sphere of social control, the highlight is the State Council of Women's Rights, which fights to defend women's rights and to follow-up on public policies for women. With the creation of the Care Network for Women in Situations of Sexual Violence, the Council gained further legitimacy. Besides the Council, which represents civil society and has a service inspection role, the Network integrates several governmental organs, who took on the commitment of giving priority to women in situations of gender violence and meet periodically to review their work.

In healthcare, municipal and state departments have taken on the commitment of guaranteeing supply of necessary medication to women who have suffered sexual violence (kits with the "morning after" pill and medication for prevention of STDs and AIDS). Medication supply is guaranteed by law, but many state governments are not overly concerned with putting this policy into practice. The Legal Medical Institute (IML) offers a DNA Laboratory, where evidence is collected for punishment of rapists. The Lab is unusual in the Country: most states offer this service only in cases of paternity suits at a civil sphere, and not at a criminal level.

In the sphere of public safety, 11 more Special Police Stations for Women's Attendance (DEAM) were implemented between 1999 and 2004. To help women out of situations of violence, two Centers (in Campo Grande and Dourados) offer phone counseling besides social, psychological and juridical care and support groups. Shelter Houses in these cities protect women in life-threatening situations of domestic and sexual violence, offering technical support (social, psychological, juridical), thematic workshops, therapy, yoga and computer courses. Children take part in recreational activities and have schooling and educational accompaniment.

The opportunity for these women to re-build their lives is one of the main results of the Program. Further benefits appear as institutions begin to take more care with how they attend women in situations of violence, setting specific funds aside for this purpose. This reflects on the change in attitude of public employees who deal directly with the female population.