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Citation Information

Type Report
Title Helpdesk Research Report: Violence against women and girls in Timor-Leste
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2012
URL https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/media/57a08a59e5274a31e0000562/hdq830.pdf
The high prevalence of gender-based violence, particularly domestic violence, in Timor-Leste is
considered to be a key challenge for the country. Sexual and gender-based violence has been
defined as ‘encompassing a range of harms, including rape, marital rape, and attempted rape; sexual
violence, including assault, abuse, and harassment; sexual exploitation and trafficking; forced
marriage; intimate partner and family violence; and harmful cultural practices’ (Harris-Rimmer, 2009,
1). The Law Against Domestic Violence, promulgated in Timor-Leste in 2010, defines domestic
violence broadly as ‘any act or sequence of acts committed within a family context, with or without
cohabitation, by a family member against any other member of that family, where there is a situation
of ascendancy, notably physical or economic, in the family relationship, or by a person with regard to
another person with whom the former has had an intimate relationship which resulted, or may result,
in physical, sexual or psychological injuries or suffering, economic abuse, including threats such as
intimidating acts, bodily harm, aggression, coercion, harassment, or deprivation of freedom’ (Art 2).
Not only is the extent of gender based violence a serious concern, but also the severity of the
violence. Women’s organisations in Timor-Leste have identified domestic violence as a health hazard:
‘They linked physical injuries, disabilities, mental health problems and sometimes even death as
relating to extreme and systematic violence against women’ (see O’Reilly and Jevtovic, 2008, 21).

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