Health Responding to domestic violence in East Timor

Responding to domestic violence in East Timor

New research highlights the urgent need to support primary health providers in East Timor working with families to reduce domestic violence.

Lead researcher Dr Kayli Wild from La Trobe University said there is now substantial evidence of the extent and effects of domestic violence.

But less is known about how to support health workers, particularly midwives, in dealing with these complex cases.

“A recent national survey shows that nearly half the women of reproductive age in Timor-Leste have experienced physical and/or sexual violence in the past year,” Dr Wild said.

“Midwives are the primary health providers for women. They may have experienced violence themselves and are well positioned to provide information and support.”

She said that while midwives had good knowledge of the health effects of violence, they knew little about the law against domestic violence and the protection it could offer women and children.

The researchers are working together with health faculty leaders at National University of Timor-Leste (UNTL), who are looking to develop an undergraduate medical and midwifery curriculum which integrates the recommendations from the report.

“Midwives and other health workers need a uniform response to this pervasive issue. If we can enable them to provide social support and put them in contact with other services, we can make a huge impact,” Dr Wild said.

For more details of the East Timor study, click here. Story credit: Latrobe University newsroom.

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