Tatiana Morais

Tatiana Morais


Across two projects conducted over the last decade, Dr. Morais has undertaken cuttingedge, innovative research to forge a feminist progressive agenda. The research developed by Morais as a member of UMAR project (2012-2014) and in collaboration with and based on the expertise of members of APJM (2016) identified crucial findings: the need to expand the legal definition of sexual harassment; the need to encourage the companies to adopt a code of conduct to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace and establish a mechanism/ procedure to receive and investigate complaints of sexual harassment; and the need to change the legal definition of rape which focused on violence instead of lack of consent, hence, perpetuating a patriarchal and misogynistic message which hindered the advancement of survivors’ human rights and protection from sexual violence.

Therefore, Dr. Morais comparative legal study, which examined the Canadian, Brazilian, French, Spanish, and Portuguese Labour and Penal Codes regarding sexual harassment, gave rise to a collection of data that provided evidence of the Portuguese legal framework’s insufficiency towards the prevention and protection against sexual harassment in the workplace. Based on this evidence, recommendations and amendments to the Labour and Penal Code were drafted and part of them were included in the Law no 73/2017, 16/08, which established the need for employees to adopt a code of conduct to prevent and address sexual harassment in the workplace, and the Law no 83/2015, 05/08, which introduced stalking as an autonomous crime on the Portuguese Penal Code (Article 154-A) and expanded the definition of sexual offences (Article 178) to include some behaviours typically perceived as sexual harassment.

Furthermore, in 2016, Dr. Morais developed an empirical socio-legal study under the supervision of Professor Teresa Beleza, with five semi-structured interviews with key informants (four of them members of APMJ) and systematic analysis of Court decisions, focusing on the legal definition of rape in the Portuguese penal code. The collection of the data enabled the development of a legal analysis regarding the Portuguese legislator decision related to the legal definition of rape and its impact on Court decisions as well on the patriarchal socio-legal message sent to the society. This study led to recommendations to foster legal reforms related to the legal definition of rape and the structure of Article 164 of the Portuguese Penal Code, while acknowledging that the lack of consent should be the primary requirement to consider a behaviour a rape. Part of these recommendations were included in the Law no 101/2019, 6/09.

The reforms underpinned by Morais’ research have a positive impact on survivors of sexual harassment and rape by providing them with greater protection, while fulfilling Portugal’s international obligations under the Istanbul Convention. Findings stemming from both projects have been published in peer-reviewed journals and presented on II Congress CICOT 2013, Women’s Human Rights Summit, Lisbon University, 2018 and on the European Feminist Research Conference, Gottingen University, 2018. Hence, the body of research developed by Dr. Morais has contributed directly to the meaningful improvement of the Portuguese legal framework to foster the advancement of human rights, in particular, protection against sexual and gender-based violence in Portugal.

Recently, Dr. Morais Ph.D. research (2022) represented an innovative and pioneer sociolegal empirical research in Portugal involving fieldwork in three continents. The data analysis was developed in Bristol University; College of Law and Business in Ramat-Gan; and in University of California, Santa Barbara as Fulbright Visiting Researcher. This research identified multiple legal tensions and advocated for the adoption of R2P as a form of rethinking sexual and gender-based violence against refugee and asylum-seeking women, from an intersectional standpoint. These findings have been published in multiple international peer-reviewed journals (2020-2023) and presented at multiple international conferences.

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