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Brazil[1] [print]

Last edited: January 2006

 

Summary and Analysis

 

Brazil is a signatory of the CRC and has incorporated into its Constitution of 1988 the notion of children and adolescents as rights holders to whom a duty of protection is owed. (Article 227 of the constitution).

 

The Statute of the Child and Adolescent (Estatuto da Criança e do Adolescente), passed in 1990, outlines the procedures for all abuse and neglect proceedings.   In Brazil the judge is in charge of a verification process to investigate the accusation of abuse, and is assisted by the Conselho Tutelar (Council of Guardianship) which is responsible for putting together the report on the child's situation and presenting the accusations to the court.  The Public Ministry oversees this process.  Because the Public Ministry's job is to be in charge of investigating harm to the child, and thus is acting on the child's behalf, the presence of a lawyer is optional, and in practice rarely offered to indigent abuse victims.

 

Two provisions deal separately with the issue of a representative for the child.  Article 206 of ECA (Statute of the Child and Adolescent) ensures the child the right to intervene in the process by designating a lawyer.  The same article states that complete and free judicial assistance shall be provided to those in need. The judicial assistance is provided by the Public Defender or associations for the protection of children rights. 

 

Articles 28 and 161 of the ECA address the need to hear children's voices in matters regarding their placement and custody.  The court “will” “whenever possible” hear the voice of the child or adolescent and give it appropriate consideration prior to making a decision regarding foster care placement for the child, according to Article 28 of the ECA. Article 141 separately states that for any hearing contemplating a change of custody “hearing the testimony of the child or adolescent will be obligatory, provided that it is possible and reasonable.”      

 

Our contact from Fundação Abrinq suggests that in practice many judges operate under the previous judicial culture which was characterized by a more paternalistic outlook regarding children.  Thus while children in abuse and neglect proceedings should receive a lawyer, in practice this doesn't always happen.  The more progressive judges such as some in Rio Grande do Sul (South Brazil) take special care with children, on the other hand, changing the language that they use with children and even move the seating so that the judge is on the same level as the child.  Other judges are unlikely to even hear the child.

 

Sources of Law (In Order of Authority)

 

Original Text

 

Constitutional Law

 

Constituição Federal

 

Art. 5[2]

LXXVIII § 2º - Os direitos e garantias expressos nesta Constituição não excluem outros decorrentes do regime e dos princípios por ela adotados, ou dos tratados internacionais em que a República Federativa do Brasil seja parte

 

LXXVIII § 3º  (PASSED ON  EMENDA CONSTITUTCIONAL Nº  45 De 8 de Dezembro de 2004, DOU 31/12/2004)[3] 

§ 3º Os tratados e convenções internacionais sobre direitos humanos que forem aprovados, em cada Casa do Congresso Nacional, em dois turnos, por três quintos dos votos dos respectivos membros, serão equivalentes às emendas constitucionais.

 

Art. 227[4]

É dever da família, da sociedade e do Estado assegurar à criança e ao adolescente, com absoluta prioridade, o direito à vida, à saúde, à alimentação, à educação, ao lazer, à profissionalização, à cultura, à dignidade, ao respeito, à liberdade e à convivência familiar e comunitária, além de colocá-los a salvo de toda forma de negligência, discriminação, exploração, violência, crueldade e opressão.

§ 3º - O direito à proteção especial abrangerá os seguintes aspectos:

....IV - garantia de pleno e formal conhecimento da atribuição de ato infracional, igualdade na relação processual e defesa técnica por profissional habilitado, segundo dispuser a legislação tutelar especifica;

....VI - estímulo do poder público, através de assistência jurídica, incentivos fiscais e subsídios, nos termos da lei, ao acolhimento, sob a forma de guarda, de criança ou adolescente órfão ou abandonado;

....§ 4º - A lei punirá severamente o abuso, a violência e a exploração sexual da criança e do adolescente.

 

International Law

 

Convenção Sobre Os Direitos Da Criança Artigo 12

1. Os Estados Partes assegurarão à criança que estiver capacitada a formular seus próprios juízos o direito de expressar suas opiniões livremente sobre todos os assuntos relacionados com a criança, levando-se devidamente em consideração essas opiniões, em função da idade e maturidade da criança.

2. Com tal propósito, se proporcionará à criança, em particular, a oportunidade de ser ouvida em todo processo judicial ou administrativo que afete a mesma, quer diretamente quer por intermédio de um representante ou órgão apropriado, em conformidade com as regras processuais da legislação nacional.

 

Statutes

 

Estatuto da Criança e do Adolescente[5]

 

Art. 28

A colocação em família substituta far-se-á mediante guarda, tutela ou adoção, independentemente da situação jurídica da criança ou adolescente, nos termos desta Lei.

1º Sempre que possível, a criança ou adolescente deverá ser previamente ouvido e a sua opinião devidamente considerada.

2º Na apreciação do pedido levar-se-á em conta o grau de parentesco e a relação de afinidade ou de afetividade, a fim de evitar ou minorar as conseqüências decorrentes da medida.

 

Art. 141

É garantido o acesso de toda criança ou adolescente à Defensoria Pública, ao Ministério Público e ao Poder Judiciário, por qualquer de seus órgãos.

1° A assistência judiciária gratuita será prestada aos que dela necessitarem, através de defensor público ou advogado nomeado.

2° As ações judiciais da competência da Justiça da Infância e da Juventude são isentas de custas e emolumentos, ressalvada a hipótese de litigância de má fé.

 

Art. 142

Os menores de dezesseis anos serão representados e os maiores de dezesseis e menores de vinte e um anos assistidos por seus pais, tutores ou curadores, na forma da legislação civil ou processual.

Parágrafo único. A autoridade judiciária dará curador especial à criança ou adolescente, sempre que os interesses destes colidirem com os de seus pais ou responsável, ou quando carecer de representação ou assistência legal ainda que eventual.

 

Art. 161

Não sendo contestado o pedido, a autoridade judiciária dará vista dos autos ao Ministério Público, por cinco dias, salvo quando este for o requerente, decidindo em igual prazo.

...2° Se o pedido importar em modificação de guarda, será obrigatória, desde que possível e razoável, a oitiva da criança ou adolescente.

 

Do Advogado. 

Art. 206. A criança ou o adolescente, seus pais ou responsável, e qualquer pessoa que tenha legítimo interesse na solução da lide poderão intervir nos procedimentos de que trata esta Lei, através de advogado, o qual será intimado para todos os atos, pessoalmente ou por publicação oficial, respeitado o segredo de justiça.

Parágrafo único. Será prestada assistência judiciária integral e gratuita àqueles que dela necessitarem.

 

Translation[6]

 

Constitutional Law

 

CONSTITUTION OF THE FEDERATIVE REPUBLIC OF BRAZIL

Art. 5[7]

LXXVIII § 2º Paragraph 2. The rights and guarantees expressed in this Constitution do not exclude others deriving from the regime and from the principles adopted by it, or from the international treaties in which the Federative Republic of Brazil is a party.

 

LXXVIII § 3º  The international treaties and conventions on Human Rights which are approved, in each House of National Congress, in two rounds, by three fifths of votes of the respective members, will be equivalent to Constitutional Amendments.

 

Art. 227[8]

It is the duty of the family, society and the state to assure with absolute priority the rights of children and adolescents to life, health, food, education, leisure, occupational training, culture, dignity, respect, freedom, and family and community life, and in addition to protect them from all forms of negligence, discrimination, exploitation, violence, cruelty and oppression.….

Paragraph 3 - The right to special protection shall include the following aspects:

….IV. Guarantee of full and formal knowledge of the determination of an offense, equal rights in the procedural relationships and technical defense by a qualified professional, in accordance with the provisions of the specific protection legislation;

….VI.  Government fostering, by means of legal assistance, tax incentives and subsidies, as provided by law, of the protection, through guardianship, of orphaned or abandoned children or adolescents;

….Paragraph 4 - The law shall severely punish abuse, violence and sexual exploitation of children and adolescents.

 

International Law

 

Convention on the Rights of the Child Article 12

1. States Parties shall assure to the child who is capable of forming his or her own views the right to express those views freely in all matters affecting the child, the views of the child being given due weight in accordance with the age and maturity of the child.

2. For this purpose, the child shall in particular be provided the opportunity to be heard in any judicial and administrative proceedings affecting the child, either directly, or through a representative or an appropriate body, in a manner consistent with the procedural rules of national law.

 

Statutes

 

Statute of the Child and Adolescent[9]

 

Art. 28

Placement in a foster family will be effected through custody, guardianship or adoption, independently of the legal situation of the child or adolescent according to the terms of this Law.

Paragraph 1. Whenever possible, the child or adolescent will be previously heard and his

opinion will be duly considered.

Paragraph 2. In judging the request, the degree of the relationship and the relations of affinity or affectivity will be considered, so as to avoid or minimize the consequences of the measure.

 

Art. 141

Access of every child or adolescent to the Office of the Public Defender, Office of the Attorney General and Judiciary Branch, through any of its organs, is ensured.

Paragraph 1. Gratuitous legal assistance is rendered to those in need of the same through the public defender or designated lawyer.

Paragraph 2. Legal proceedings under the responsibility of the Juvenile Court are exempt from costs and fees, with the exception of the case of litigations brought out of bad faith.

 

Art. 142

Minors of less than sixteen years of age will be represented and those aged sixteen or more and less than twenty-one years of age will be assisted by their parents, custodians or guardians, according to the form of civil or procedural legislation.

Paragraph. The judicial authority shall provide a special guardian to the child or adolescent whenever the interests of the child or adolescent collide with those of his parents or guardian or when representation or legal assistance is lacking, even when the lack is occasional.

 

Art. 161

Should the petition not be contested, the judicial authority will permit examination of the records by the Office of the Attorney General for five days, except when it is the petitioning party and will make its decision within an equal period of time….

Paragraph 2. If the petition implies modification of custody, hearing of the testimony of the child or adolescent will be obligatory, provided that it is possible and reasonable.

 

Of the Lawyer

Art. 206. The child or adolescent, his parents or persons responsible for him, and anyone that has a legitimate interest in the resolution of the proceedings will be able to intervene in the procedures described in this law, through a lawyer, which will be suggested for all of the acts, personally or by official publication, respecting the privacy of justice.

Only paragraph. Judicial assistance will be provided free to those that need it.

 

Local Contact Information

 

Itamar Batista Gonçalves ( Itamar@fundabrinq.org.br )

Gerente Área de Defesa dos Direitos à Proteção Especial

Telephone: 55-11- 3069-0621

Address: Av. Santo Amaro, 1386 – Vila Nova Conceição

CEP 04506-001 São Paulo - SP

http://www.fundabrinq.org.br

 

Additional Resources and Links

 

Associação Brasileira Multiprofissional de Proteção à Infância e à Adolescência

http://www.abrapia.org.br/homepage/portugues/portugues.htm

 

Departamento da Criança e do Adolescente do Ministério da Justiça

http://www.mj.gov.br/sedh/dca/

 

A Bibliography of Reading on Child Law in Brazil, available here, and also as .pdf Document, and also as Word Document.

 



Endnotes

[1] This page is also available as a .pdf Document, and Word Document.

[2] Constituição Federal [C.F.] [Constitution] art. 5  (Braz.). 

[3] In December of 2004, the Congress of Brazil amended the constitution to say that treaties which pass with 3/5 majority in the house will be treated as amendments to the Constitution.  According to my sources, it has not yet been settled whether or how that provision will affect treaties passed prior to December 2004 (like the CRC).

[4] Constituição Federal [C.F.] [Constitution] art. 227  (Braz.). 

[5] Lei No. 8.069, de 13 de Julho de 1990, D.O. de 16.07.1990, p. 13563. (Brazil), available at https://www.planalto.gov.br/ccivil_03/leis/L8069Compilado.htm, and also here, and also as .pdf Document, and also as Word Document.

[6] The translations in this document are not official ones.  Additional translated articles of the Code on Children and Adolescents are available here, and also as .pdf Document, and also as Word Document.

[7] Constituição Federal [C.F.] [Constitution] art. 5  (Braz.). 

[8] Constituição Federal [C.F.] [Constitution] art. 227  (Braz.).

[9] Lei No. 8.069, de 13 de Julho de 1990, D.O. de 16.07.1990, p. 13563. (Brazil), available at https://www.planalto.gov.br/ccivil_03/leis/L8069Compilado.htm, and also here, and also as .pdf Document, and also as Word Document.

 

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