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Citation Information

Type Working Paper
Title Timor Leste government initiatives and civil society in contributing to the prevention of domestic violence
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2015
The term "domestic violence" is used to describe the actions that occur in various relationships. It can
include all violations of physical and sexual character, such as pushing, pinching, spitting, kicking,
beating, punching, strangulation, burns, assault with objects, stabbings, water use boiling, acid and
fire. The results of such physical violence can range from minor injuries to death itself. What begins
be apparently minor, an attack may increase in frequency and intensity. The term "domestic violence"
also includes psychological and mental violence, which may consist of repeated verbal abuse,
harassment, confinement and deprivation of physical, financial and personal needs. Contact with
family and friends can be controlled. Rape can take variable forms from society to society. Others use
the term to describe only violence against women occurring in the family, and sometimes used to
describe a violation in which the victim and the perpetrator have, or have had before, a relationship
folks. In this paper, the term “domestic violence” means the physical character of aggression or
psychological inflicted on the wife by the husband or sexual partner. In Timor-Leste, domestic
violence by definition is defined under the Law Against Domestic Violence (Law No.7/2010) as:
Any act or a result of an act or acts committed in a family context, with or without
cohabitation, by a family member against any other family member, where there exists
influence, notably physical or economic, of one over another in the family relationship, or by
a person against another with whom he or she has an intimate relationship, which results in
or may result in harm or physical, sexual or psychological suffering, economic abuse,
including threats such as acts of intimidation, insults, bodily assault, coercion, harassment, or
deprivation of liberty.
The definition of ‘family’ within the Law Against Domestic Violence is quite broad, but for the
purposes of this report the focus is on “spouses or former spouses,” and “people who live or have
lived in conditions similar to that of spouses, even without cohabitation.”
Some have suggested that it is important to remember that, by legal definition, domestic violence in
Timor-Leste does not include sexual assault or harassment outside of family relationships; for
example, by strangers or friends or in a work or school context (Trembath et al. 2015). The focus then
is on the familial domain that results in ‘physical, sexual or psychological suffering’ or, of particular
relevance to this research, economic violence, which is defined as:
Any conduct that involves retention, partial subtraction, or total destruction of personal
items, working instruments, impeding work inside or outside the home, personal documents,
goods, values and rights or economic resources, including those designed to meet the
personal needs and the needs of the household.

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