Enforcement of the Menino Bernardo Law on Networks for the Protection and Care of Children and Adolescents in Brazil

Adalberto de Araújo Trindade Jean Von Hohendorff About the authors

Although many countries have passed laws to ban the use of physical violence for purported educational purposes, the World Health Organization has stated that the enforcement of such laws is still a challenge. The study thus aimed to verify whether networks in Brazil for the protection and care of children and adolescents at risk are organized to enforce the Menino Bernardo Law (Law n. 13,010/2014). Using a qualitative and exploratory approach, the study interviewed 16 professional staff members from different services in these networks in a city in the state of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. The data collected in the interviews were analyzed with inductive thematic analysis, resulting in four themes: (1) culturally accepted practice; (2) ignorance versus awareness of the law; (3) shortage of networks; and (4) enforcement strategies. Taken as a whole, the four themes point to non-enforcement of the Menino Bernardo Law by the networks for protection and care of children and adolescents at risk in the municipality where the study was carried out. This revealed social acceptance of resort to violence in raising children and adolescents; ignorance of the Menino Bernardo Law by the staff; and fragmentation between professional staff and the networks’ services. It is thus necessary to strengthen institutional resources and staff training to improve professional development and the networks’ services.

Child Abuse; Child Advocacy; Child Rearing; Parent-Child Relations; Legislation as Topic

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