Location Porto Alegre, RS
Grantee 2014
Attended areas Human Rights and Civic Engagement

Defensores Legais Populares: Uma Nova Figura no Acesso a Justiça no RS

Popular legal defenders assisting women victims of domestic violence

Discrimination and violence affect thousands of women in Brazil. According to the Ministry of Health, 30,000 women have been killed over the last decade because of domestic violence, which translates to one murder every two hours. THEMIS developed a methodology to train leaders and offer legal assistance to women. The organization has offered this service since 1993, when a group of lawyers and social scientists decided to actively combat the discrimination experienced by women at police stations and vis-à-vis the legal system. This impetus led to the formation of the Popular Legal Defenders (Defensoras Legais Populares), which collaborates with the public defender’s office as an intermediary among the legal system, the communities and women who fall victim to domestic abuse.

With support from BrazilFoundation, THEMIS will:

• Create new methods that mobilize the community to address violence;
• Improve access to the legal system and enhance accountability practices conducted by civil society through the collaborative work of the Popular Legal Defenders, THEMIS and Public Defender’s Office in Rio Grande do Sul.


• Mobilize the community to address violence
• Assist 400 women who are victims of domestic violence over the next 12 months
• Improve protection of civil rights and access to justice for women

“In these 20 years, THEMIS has developed diverse programs and awareness campaigns to combat violence, and it has collaborated to rebuild the lives of hundreds of women.” – Beatriz Vasconcellos, project leader