Brazilian MPs have approved a bill recognising ‘femicide’, or the killing of a woman because of her gender in a country where 50,000 women lost their lives through violence over the past decade.
‘Femicide distinguishes violent crime against women from crimes in general,’ said Eleonora Menicucci, minister for women’s affairs.
‘It is for the good of Brazil in that it is favourable to women and it tackles the violence that can affect any woman. We are giving them an instrument of protection,’ she said ahead of the bill’s approval.
The new law covers cases of women killed for her gender following domestic violence or gender-based violent discrimination.
It also stipulates that femicide is an aggravated form of homicide and foresees a jail term of 12 to 30 years for perpetrators.
If the victim is pregnant, killed in front of children or other family members, or if the victim is aged less than 14 or more than 60 the sentence is increased by a third.
President Dilma Rousseff, Brazil’s first female leader, still has to ratify the bill, which tightens 2006 legislation beefing up punishments for domestic violence.
The original law was named after the case of Maria da Penha, a biochemist who fought for years to have her husband convicted for twice trying to murder her and who ultimately left her a paraplegic.