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Population size: 

1,319,174 [1]

Number of people experiencing domestic abuse each year:

Physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence in last 12 months = 46% [2]

No research on male victims or other gender identities.

Cost of domestic abuse to the economy each year:

No research.

Estimated % change due to COVID-19:

No specific statistics, broadly in line with global increase. Restrictions on movement due to COVID-19 is likely to cause an increase in domestic abuse. [3]

Current law and policy:

The Timor-Leste National Parliament adopted a specific Law against Domestic Violence in 2010. However, domestic violence remains prevalent, and implementation of the law has suffered due to, among other factors, the prevalence of traditional views of gender roles, the coexistence of customary and formal law, and the limited resources available to the criminal justice system and other state and non-state bodies.

The National Parliament passed ‘The Law against Domestic Violence (LADOMESTIC VIOLENCE)’, officially published as Law No. 7/2010 on 3rd May 2010. The law’s function was to reinforce the provisions of the Timor-Leste Penal Code, to promote victims’ rights and guarantee their protection. Further, the Timor-Leste Government asserted that “this law marked the shift from traditional conflict resolution to a formal criminal justice system. Article 36 of the LADOMESTIC VIOLENCE reinforces all crimes of DOMESTIC VIOLENCE as public crimes. It also does not make any exemptions, and as such facilitates the effective prosecution of perpetrators including a husband / partner”. Further, “since the LADOMESTIC VIOLENCE made any form of DOMESTIC VIOLENCE a public crime, the dissemination of the LADOMESTIC VIOLENCE has been done in all districts targeting local authorities, village chiefs, traditional leaders, communities and universities. To reach remote communities in the fight against stereotypes, especially concerning violence against women, the members of the referral network, including government and non-government organizations together with the judicial actors, implemented number of sensitization programmes through national and community radios regarding various topics such as human right and GBV”. [4]

Pursuant to Article 13(1) of the LADOMESTIC VIOLENCE, the Timor-Leste Council of Ministers adopted a National Action Plan (NAP) on Gender Based Violence (GBV) in 2012 (Resolution No. 21/2012). It’s 4-year implementation timeframe was extended due to obstacles encountered. The NAP was premised on 4 major pillars: “on prevention, provision of services, access to justice, and coordination, monitoring and evaluation”. [5]

Domestic violence remains very high. Key findings as to why this is the case include that GBV is exacerbated by traditional views regarding gender roles; the limited capacity of the formal criminal justice system; DOMESTIC VIOLENCE cases continuing to be resolved primarily at the family level rather than through state authorities; the short time in which the LADOMESTIC VIOLENCE has been in place; the limited outreach of police; the long-distances to courts; low general and specific legal and general literacy; and insufficient resources coupled with long delays in the legal process. [6]

Public spending - The cost of delivering a minimum package of essential services for women and girls who experienced violence accounts for 0.29% of GDP. [7]

The EU and the UN have allocated an additional $1 million from the SpotLight programme to East Timor to respond to the risk of violence against women in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic." [8]



[1] Worldometer, “Timor-Leste Population (Live)”, (

[2] UN Women, “Global Database on Violence Against Women – Timor Leste”, (

[4] The Law against Domestic Violence

[6] Timor-Leste Country Gender Assessment



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