Timor-Leste: Access to Justice, Just Outcomes and the future for Domestic Violence survivors…

Stream: Questions of Justice in Cases of Gender-based Violence
Date: Wednesday, 11 February 2015
Time: 3.15 pm – 5.00 pm


The 2010 public law on domestic violence in Timor-Leste (DV law) was expected to achieve equality for women through legislative reform, post conflict. In consequence a coercive criminal justice policy was adopted to sanction and deter perpetrators. This paper seeks to examine whether this has been the most effective and appropriate response to domestic violence in Timor Leste and whether the goal of empowerment for women and girls is being achieved. Available evidence of monitoring DV law post-2010 will be reviewed together with customary / traditional alternatives and the support provided by government and non-government actors to victims; and the changes implemented by the stakeholders (police, medical services, prosecution service, etc.) to provide better access to justice In addition, this paper will examine the extent to which Timor-Leste complies with international law obligations and evaluate its readiness to be a signatory to the 2014 Istanbul Convention (Convention). This Council of Europe Convention is a blueprint for a co-ordinated, victim-centred approach to combating all forms of violence against women and domestic violence. The DV law in Timor-Leste will be mapped against the Convention’s legally binding standards which are meant to improve prevention of violence, protection of victims and prosecution of perpetrators.


Jeswynn Yogaratnam (Presenter), Charles Darwin University
Jeswynn Yogaratnam is a human rights law academic at Charles Darwin University. In 2009 he was awarded an AusAID grant together with his research team to examine the prospective domestic violence law in Timor-Leste and facilitate training and legal education with the lawyers, judges, health care professionals, police and the Judicial System Monitoring Programme (civil society). The research findings led to Parliamentary Roundtables on Gender Violence in South Pacific and various publications.

Felicity Gerry (Presenter), Charles Darwin University
Felicity Gerry QC is Chair of the Research and Research Training Committee in the School of Law at CDU. She was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 2014 in England and Wales. She is also admitted in the NT. She is listed in Legal 500 as a “Fearless and effective advocate”. She is co-author of The Sexual Offences Handbook (2nd Ed 2014). She is currently researching global responses to FGM. She is on the Management Committee of The Advocate’s Gateway that produces toolkits for advocacy with vulnerable people. Recent papers include women in prison (UK) and reproductive rights (NT). www.felicitygerry.com