Without inspection, pesticide becomes a weapon for domestic violence

Country/area: Brazil

Organisation: Agência Pública de Jornalismo Investigativo

Organisation size: Small

Publication date: 13/01/2021

Credit: Pedro Grigori , Thays Lavor, Bruno Fonseca


Investigative and data journalists, with work focused on covering human rights, the environment, health, among other areas.

Project description:

Pesticides were used as weapons in 305 cases of attempted poisoning with pesticides in the last decade, according to data from the Sistema de Agravos de Notificação (Sinan). In 77% of the cases the violence occurred inside the house. The exclusive survey by Agência Pública and Repórter Brasil reveals a deviation in the use of agricultural products, which are being used to kill and threaten people. There were 32 homicides with the products during this period.

Impact reached:

The impact of this work is to show one more of the problems with the use of pesticides in Brazil and the threats to women’s lives. The lack of enforcement and effective laws put people’s lives at risk, especially the population further away from large urban centers.

Techniques/technologies used:

For this work, we used the Access to Information Law to obtain a database from the federal government, a historical series of the last 10 years on cases of poisoning by pesticides used in agriculture in Brazil. From there, we cross-referenced several data, with different bases, listened to researchers, used social indicators and mapped these occurrences of violence and identified the substances most used in domestic violence.

What was the hardest part of this project?

The hardest part of this project was cleaning the database, because the data was very dirty with more than 160 thousand lines, it was a tiring work to standardize and then analyze the material, in order to guarantee precision in the analysis.

What can others learn from this project?

Journalists can be inspired and learn how to use the Access to Information Law (LAI) as a journalistic investigation tool and implement it in their work routine. Also learning to analyze data is a great gain to discover stories that are hidden and the government doesn’t want to show. And thus strengthen democracy.

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