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The ‘real’ cost of violencia iha uma laran Timor-Leste Dr. Sara Niner Monash University SLIDE 1: TILE.

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Presentation on theme: "The ‘real’ cost of violencia iha uma laran Timor-Leste Dr. Sara Niner Monash University SLIDE 1: TILE."— Presentation transcript:

1 The ‘real’ cost of violencia iha uma laran Timor-Leste Dr. Sara Niner Monash University SLIDE 1: TILE

2 VAW: not as a failure of laws, governments or cultures but an ongoing part of the political economy related to structures of inequality, poverty and exploitation… connecting gender violence with economic inequality (True 2012). The Violence Against Women in Melanesia and East Timor Report (ODE 2008): VAW must be understood as a symptom of women’s economic and social disadvantage. Violence is symptom of women’s economic & social disadvantage

3 VAW is estimated to be as serious a cause of death and incapacity as cancer among reproductive-age women (ICRW 2005: 2) Costing violence is growing field= Annual Costs: US $12.6 billion (WHO 2004: x); Australia AU$8 billion (Access Economics 2004); Canada $1 billion+ (Korf 1997); + 1.indirect socioeconomic costs=lost earnings—death and lost productivity; job loss; lost productivity of abuser due to incarceration; loss of tax revenues—death and incarceration (Orlando 2004: 2). 2.Additional costs= legal (criminal and civil); health (physical and mental); social services; housing and refuges 3.Human cost in pain and suffering Evidence of costs for use in policy-making and advocacy and complement and strengthen moral arguments for prevention (Orlando 2004: viii). BUT violence not just an issue of economics or development and women’s empowerment not just an input for economic growth: an issue of equality, justice and human rights. Costs of VAW

4 T-L’s post-conflict environment people accustomed to living with violence during the liberation struggle resulting in a ‘culture of violence’ (UNICEF 2006) Nearly 40% live on less than US $1.25 a day in purchasing power parity (WB 2012) 70% live in rural poverty & subsistence farming (NDS 2010). customary practices still often determine gender roles and relationships which make different levels of accommodation with recently introduced values of democracy, human rights and gender equity Women limited to private-domestic realm reducing economic, educational and political engagement and making women vulnerable to domestic violence (DV) or ‘violencia iha uma laran’ (Niner 2012) negative effects of ongoing, rapid and disruptive social, political and economic changes since 1999

5 DV in T-L DV most prevalent crime but not dealt with well by justice system Preventions Campaigns & 2010 Lei Contra Violência Doméstica/Law Against Domestic Violence (LADV) Timorese perspectives on DV are divergent and understandings of LADV superficial Conceptualisation of DV in customary justice systems: …as a problem between two extended families rather than the individuals directly involved, prioritizing the protection of the collective relationships in tight-knit communities, or ‘peace’, over ‘justice’… As a result, customary justice systems do not always respect the victim’s interests or rights, frequently blame female victims for violence committed against them, and impose social pressure to accept a solution which provides no redress for the violence (Kovar and Harrington 2013). Most cases dealt with by local custom: women not usually permitted to participate and compensation for offences usually made to families through male reps. Recent research Harmonia Iha Familia Project found: combination of ‘traditional values’ and poverty was placing women at risk of DV (Alola Foundation 2011). Poverty was widely reported as exacerbating relationship and household stress.

6 The gendered economy in T-L Women have an average of 6 children & contribute more unpaid care and household work than men (NDS 2010) gendered division of labour characterizes TL economy and gender segmentation characterizes industries and occupations (Costa & Sharp forthcoming) Women are particularly vulnerable to unemployment and underemployment: lower rates of education, high rates of illiteracy and higher presence in subsistence farming (Costa & Sharp forthcoming) Of 44 % of married women employed mostly in agriculture for themselves and family 80 % did not receive payment (NSD 2010: 203) much less active in the labour force: women 48 % compared to men’s 77% (NSD 2008) women are 25 % of civil service but only 2 % of highest positions (Ospina 2006) =women earn one-eighth of men (ADB/UNIFEM 2005) women in informal work face absence of OH&S standards, harassment and other forms of coercion: new Labour Law & Working Women’s Centre (Australian Domestic and Family Violence Clearing House 2012)

7 Economics of DV in T-L repercussions of seeking formal justice solutions for DV risks social stigma, breaking up families, loss of home, income and security. Economic dependency and impact of a gendered labour shrinks women’s options in bad/violent relationship. economics plays fundamental role in women’s decisions: whether or not they felt able to leave violent partner (TAF 2012: 7): only 1 in 5 women believed their family was able to support them if they needed to leave (NSD 2010: 246). Only 50 % of women seek help for DV, usually from family and friends (only 4 % from police; 1 % from social services) (NSD 2010: 246). In absence of social safety net CSO’s attempt to fill the gap but resources limited (TAF 2012: 24). Women were more likely to seek help if employed particularly rural/self-employed workers (NSD 2010) Harmonia Iha Familia Project: strong link between work and women’s mental wellbeing; income central to women’s empowerment, safety and psychology (Alola 2014; Rees et al 2014) Failing to address DV poses significant challenges to achieve TL’s commitments in education & health and constrains economic and social opportunities of families In post conflict context weak and new institutions are under strain to deliver services; violence against women represents an additional (and invisible) burden needs to be fully counted

8 Conclusion: costs still need analysis in TL & improving women’s economic situation is crucial Already SEPI & Grupo de Mulheres Parlamentares de T-L lobby lobby to make gov budgets more gender- responsive & allocate resources for implementation of LADV Women’s CSOs active in highlighting quality of services available and reporting (Fokupers 2013). Required Action Government must improve services, law & justice for women survivors—lobbying required programmes for to facilitate gender equality- Eg. ensure fathers accept financial responsibility in cases of separation Greater focus on livelihoods for women: LADV states women are entitled to receive skills training to ‘contribute to their successful social reintegration’ but not yet available Research Needed 2 research projects underway: Asia Foundation’s ‘Economic Dimensions of Domestic Violence TL’ & UNW estimating current costs of services Analysis of direct & indirect costs and impacts of VAW is required drawing links between income, equity and violence: studies must highlight as health, justice and human rights issue but also poverty, development and economics Individual success stories of women are worth reviewing


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