Recognition, Redistribution and Popular Participation: Towards an Integrative Judicial Policy

Victimology is central theme of book and conversation wheel at ADPERJ

May 30th, 2017
Maria Gabriela Peixoto, Soraia Mendes and Luciana Boiteux make up the debate, coordinated by public defender Patrícia Magno.

Maria Gabriela Peixoto, Soraia Mendes and Luciana Boiteux make up the debate, coordinated by public defender Patrícia Magno.

The launch of Maria Gabriela Peixoto's book “Victims and Punitive Control: A Journey Through Academic Discourses in Contemporary Brazil” has focused on the theme of victimology, traditionally relegated to the background in current criminological discussions. The author listens to the National Penitentiary Department (DEPEN) and the book is the result of her doctoral thesis in Criminal Law from UERJ. In the conversation, which took place on May 23 in ADPERJ's auditorium, she stated her intention to work on the work the contact of the victim woman with the generally traumatic criminal justice system, seeking channels of empowerment of these victims inspired by proportionate experiences. by the Maria da Penha Law.

It explored the discourses developed historically around the figure of the victim, in order to highlight three main victimizing axes: i) in the 60 years, with the consolidation of the victimology in the country in the context of military dictatorship, it was proposed to build a science about the victim and their contributions to the occurrence of the crime. Alongside discussions of reform of the Penal Code, a vitmodogmatic would have emerged to ideologically underpin the proposals for criminal law and criminal policy of the time; ii) in a second moment, a counter-opposition movement that gives rise to different modalities of criminal abolitionism gains strength, representing a “libertarian attitude of life” that, by eliminating the category of crime, relegates the elements of the problematic situation to other spaces legal knowledge and non-legal knowledge; iii) finally, the proposal of restorative justice, in its search for strengthening the figure of the victim in the restoration of the damage caused by the situation defined as a crime.

The victim ends up being characterized by trauma. In this sense, the author wonders if criminal law and the penal system are the places to treat this typical concept of psychology. Will revenge, conflict, and retribution for a crime have a genuine place to be placed or is this place just the criminal justice system?

Luciana Boiteux debates the relationship between gender, victim and criticism of the penal system.

Luciana Boiteux debates the relationship between gender, victim and criticism of the penal system.

The debate was followed by Professor Soraia Mendes, author of the book Feminist Criminology, who highlighted the figure of the woman, who was considered the perfect victim. The woman has traditionally been the typical example of the victim who collaborates for the crime: the woman says no when she means yes, because by denying the disposition of her body she would actually be seducing her abuser.

From what can be extracted from his speech, the criminal system not only selects the culprits: young black slums with low education, but also selects their victims - white middle-class people who own it, so that if people who share the criminalized social profile are victimized For crimes, they may not be recognized as victims and will be criminalized by the criminal justice system. And in this respect, women are not recognized as victims, being held responsible for the act of their aggressors. This fact makes them avoid recording their aggression, which fuels the underreporting of the crimes they suffer.

Luciana Boiteux, professor at UFRJ, followed similar paths, pointing to the flowering of gender issues in the field of criminal law. According to her, the critical perspective in criminal law and criminology hardly speaks of the victim, focusing on the figure of the defendant or convicted, because the appeal to the victim is usually appropriated by a discourse of legitimation of the criminal system. However, on closer inspection, defendants and victims are very close. The biggest victims of violence are the same segments of the population targeted by criminalization. Certainly in the name of the victim a whole punitive system was built, but in the name of which victim?

The debate was the result of a partnership between the Rio de Janeiro State Association of Public Defenders (ADPERJ) and the Justice Forum.