World Vision Timor-Leste

Reducing gender-based violence

Project in Aileu to begin in 2015

Sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) is a pervasive worldwide issue, one that has an impact on families in Timor-Leste. The 2009-2010 Demographic and Health Survey found 38 percent of women aged 15-49 had experienced physical violence since the age of 15. A 2002-2003 study by the International Rescue Committee (IRC) found that 51 percent of married Timorese women consulted felt unsafe in their relationship.

World Vision Timor-Leste (WVTL) is beginning a project to address tolerance of SGBV in communities in the Aileu Area Program. WVTL is exploring the use of World Vision’s Channels of Hope for Gender (CoHG) approach to address violence against women and children.
This innovative approach has been successfully implemented in the Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea and across World Vision offices in Africa. CoHG supports faith leaders to explore gender identities, gender inequalities and SGBV from a faith perspective.

The approach challenges faith leaders to acknowledge the impact of SGBV on families – especially on women and children. CoHG also challenges faith leaders to actively address the issue in their churches and to support church members to act upon gender injustices in their communities. This project will seek to decrease the tolerance of SGBV by faith leaders, their churches and communities.

Often the first people to whom survivors of violence turn are church priests, nuns and pastors. They offer counseling and support so it is important they have the ability to provide wise counsel and know how to identify red flags in relationships. This project will help church leaders and churches understand the dynamics of violence and the need to protect survivors.

The project in Aileu will also work with community chiefs and other leaders to help them identify their role in seeking justice and support for survivors of SGBV. Finally, the project will work to connect survivors to the services they need, and to build the capacity of service providers because so many services in Timor-Leste are under-resourced.