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Article Brazil: New Program Created to Combat Sexual Harassment in Education System

On October 27, 2022, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro adopted Provisional Measure No. 1,140, which creates a program for preventing and combating sexual harassment within the scope of Brazil’s federal, state, municipal, and district education systems, both public and private. (Medida Provisória No. 1.140, de 27 de Outubro de 2022, arts. 1, 2).

Article 3 of the measure defines sexual harassment as “unwanted behavior of a sexual nature, demonstrated verbally or nonverbally, with or without physical contact, with the aim of a) disturbing or embarrassing; b) violating dignity; or c) creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or destabilizing environment.”

The objectives of the Program for the Prevention and Combat of Sexual Harassment are:

I – to prevent and combat the perpetration of sexual harassment in educational institutions;

II – to train teachers and pedagogical teams to develop and implement actions aimed at discussing, preventing, orienting and solving the problem in educational institutions;

III – to implement and publicize educational campaigns against sexual harassment, with a view to informing and raising awareness … to enable the identification of conduct considered sexual harassment and the rapid adoption of measures that solve the problem; and

IV – to instruct and guide parents, family members and guardians with regard to identifying the victim and the aggressor. (Art. 4.)

The educational institutions encompassed by Provisional Measure No. 1,140 must develop actions and strategies aimed at preventing and combating sexual harassment in the educational environment by:

I – clarifying the elements that characterize sexual harassment in accordance with the provisions of … article 3;

II – supplying educational and informational materials with examples of conduct that may be considered sexual harassment in the educational environment, in order to guide the work of teachers and pedagogical teams in educational institutions;

III – implementing good practices to prevent sexual harassment in the educational environment;

IV – disseminating relevant legislation and policies to assist victims of sexual harassment in the educational environment;

V – publicizing accessible channels for reporting sexual harassment to the actors involved in the educational process;

VI – establishing a procedure to investigate complaints and denunciations of sexual harassment, guaranteeing confidentiality and due legal process;

VII – disclosing information about the transgressive nature of harassment and its disciplinary nature, subject to investigation and application of sanctions in the criminal, civil and disciplinary spheres; and

VIII – creating a training program, in person or at a distance, covering the following content on the topic of sexual harassment:

a) means of identification;

b) modalities;

c) legal developments;

d) victims’ right to reparation;

e) reporting mechanisms and channels; and

f) legal instruments to prevent and combat sexual harassment available in the Brazilian legal system. (Art. 5.)

Professionals from educational institutions covered by Provisional Measure No. 1,140 who are aware of the conduct of sexual harassment have a legal duty to report it. (Art. 5(§ 1).)

For the purposes of Provisional Measure No 1,140, any retaliation against victims of sexual harassment, witnesses, or assistants in investigations or processes that investigate criminal conduct must be investigated. (Art. 5(§ 2).)

Provisional Measures

Article 62 of the Brazilian Constitution states that in relevant and urgent cases, the president of the republic may adopt provisional measures that have the force of law. Such measures must be submitted immediately to the National Congress.

Provisional measures may not be enacted on matters:

I – with respect to:

a) nationality, citizenship, political rights, political parties and electoral law;

b) criminal law, criminal procedure and civil procedure;

c) organization of the Judiciary and the Public Prosecutor’s Office, as well as the careers and guarantees of their members; and

d) multi-year plans, budgetary directives, the budget, and additional and supplementary credits, except as provided for in article 167(§ 3) of the Constitution;

II – that deal with the detention or sequestration of property, popular savings, or any other financial assets;

III – that are reserved for supplementary law; and

IV – that have already been regulated in a bill approved by the National Congress that is awaiting approval or veto of the President of the Republic. (Constitution art. 62(§ 1).)

Eduardo Soares, Law Library of Congress
December 9, 2022

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Soares, Eduardo. Brazil: New Program Created to Combat Sexual Harassment in Education System. 2022. Web Page.

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