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JSMP: 34 percent of sexual violence cases heard at courts against girls

Dili Weekly - April 13, 2016

Venidora Oliveira – Research conducted by the Judicial System Monitoring Program (JSMP) research in 2015 has found that 34% of Timor-Leste girls are victims of sexual violence.

JSMP researcher Rita Alves said the figure was based on trials heard at municipality courts. "The result of the research in 2015 showed that 34% of girls between 14 and 15 years old experience sexual violence," said Alves in Dili.

In 2012, there were 41 recorded victims of sexual violation, 57 in 2013, 57 in 2014 and 71 in 2015. Of those, 102 experienced violence from a close partner or someone known to them.

According to the penal code Article 172, sexual violence is a crime with such cases the most common to come before the courts.

JSMP noted that many women were still reluctant to report cases of sexual violence, usually because their family had promised to resolve the issue through informal channels and they lacked information about the system of formal justice.

Meanwhile, the Deputy President of Timor-Leste Women's Parliamentarian Group (GMPTL), Member of Parliament MP Albina Marcal, acknowledged that the issue was one of national interest and the government needed to pay close attention. "The sentences provided should be in balance so that others will be afraid to do so," she said.

She also urged the communities to maintain good moral practices and not commit such criminal acts. "The family should have the principle to not get involved in such actions," said the MP.

Source: http://www.thediliweekly.com/en/news/gender/13650-jsmp-34-of-sexual-violence-cases-heard-at-courts-against-girls