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LAW, BAUCAU

What is Behind a Spike in DV Cases in Baucau?

What is Behind a Spike in DV Cases in Baucau?

PNTL said there had been 13 new cases in the town of Venilale. (Image/Pexels CC by 2.0)

DILI, 31 October 2019 (TATOLI) – Police in Baucau District are reporting a significant spike in the number of domestic violence cases reported at Venilale — some of which are related to land disputes.

Timor-Leste’s National Police (PNTL) Commander Sebastião Freitas said there have now been 13 new DV cases reported in the town, according to the latest police data.

Speaking at the Venilale Administrative Post, Commander Freitas said there were three other complaints involved alleged physical violence, while there was also a civil complaint filed over a land dispute.

“These cases have been handed over to the public prosecutors for processing according to the applicable law,” he said.

However, Commander Freitas said the matters had already been resolved “in the traditional manner”: consultations involving police and local authorities.

“We use the mediation [as a] way to resolve the disputes about land, but there are [not] always solutions to the problem, thus we will resolve it in accordance with the land dispute law,” he said.

Almost 37 per cent of women aged 15-49 have experienced some form of domestic violence, according to the 2016 Demographic Survey and Health Survey. Despite the depth of the problem, Timor-Leste has a dismal record of prosecuting domestic violence (DV) complaints. A 2017 report by the Judicial Monitoring Program (JSMP) found that judges are increasingly likely to hand out suspended sentences to DV perpetrators — up to 76 per cent. The report found just 2 per cent of offenders were sentenced to a prison term in a single year (2017).

Many of the non-custodial sentences resulted in fines; but the minimum is just $US 5.

Originally published in Tetum as: Violénsia Doméstika Rejista Aas iha Eskuadra PNTL Venilale 

Journalist: Osoria Marques; additional reporting by Robert Baird

Editor: Francisco Simões; Robert Baird

Translation: Nelia Borges

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