Reading the stories about Adimar de Jesus Silva, who was recently convicted of sexually assaulting and killing six young boys between the ages of 13 and 19 after being released from jail last December, has made me realize just how poor the judicial and penal system of Brazil is. This is finally being realized and admitted by public officials in Brazil, and changes are being proposed for the system, such as a reintroduction of a mandatory psychological assessment, a possible permanent penitentiary for those who are not safe to be reintegrated back into society, and electronic monitoring for those who are. However, what seems to be lacking, in my opinion, is a sexual offender registry that is publicly available, that is current and updated, as well as available for viewing on the internet. Being a parent of a 2 year old daughter, living in the state of Goiás just a couple of hours away from where theses homocides occurred (which I learned yesterday has over 1,000 reports of pedophilia per year to the public ministry, the highest in all of Brazil), I am obviously concerned about keeping my child out of danger. Having a registry such as is available in North America, in my opinion, would help people to keep their children out of potential danger.

What are your thoughts on this?

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I'm starting to discuss about Brazil in pedophilia and reform of the judicial system... Couldn't choose soy or orange juice markets. Oh, well... Let's start. The system is screwed up. You have no control of inmates and by that I don't mean they don't control riots, I mean they have no idea who is there and people who are there way pass their release date. It would be nice if they started to analyze inmates files not only to assess their profiles, but to release those who are there unfairly (stealing food in Brazil is no grounds for an unrest, according to our criminal code under "Excludentes de Licitude", so why so many poor people are still being arrested for that?). Getting specifically on to the pedophilia issues, I'm torn. Maybe because I'm not a mother but I think those types of registries should only be monitored by the police. One, because it can lead to this community paranoia, second because it is an easy escape for the fact that in most cases, sexual abuse happens with somebody they know, only 10% of the cases are strangers. Does that mean that abusers shouldn't be monitored? No, It doesn't. But monitor criminals is a police work. What communities and neighborhoods can do is work on prevention. Like everything else, talk to children, like you don't talk to strangers on the street, you shouldn't talk to strangers in the web. You shouldn't arrange meetings with people you don't know... That sort of advice.

Thanks Natasha for your comments! I agree that the registries should be monitored by the police, at the very least, but would prefer to see more effort put into prevention than is currently happening in Brazil. I am not aware of efforts such as Megan's law in the US leading to much community paranoia, and believe that more talk and awareness of the release of dangerous sexual offenders into a community is important knowledge. Sometimes, the best prevention is the action that we ourselves take in protecting our young from being in places that they may be endangered, in addition to the advice that you mention. The statistics vary in terms of sexual abusers being strangers to their victims, and many pedophiles have more than one victim. Declines in the US for child sexual abuse cases over the last 10-15+ years have been attributed to public awareness campaigns and crackdowns, so in my eyes, the more we can do to avoid potential hidden dangers to our children, the better.


Andrea Vilela Araujo, MA

Clinical Psychologist and Yoga Therapist

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