Timorese nurses to tackle violence

Timorese midwifery and nursing university students will be among the first to pilot the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) new domestic violence undergraduate curriculum.

Representatives from Timor-Leste’s two main medical and health teaching universities, Universidade Nacional Timor Lorosa’e (UNTL) and Institutu Superior Cristal, and trauma recovery service PRADET are meeting with La Trobe University researchers in Melbourne to adapt the new curriculum.

The collaboration was made possible with funding from WHO and the Rotary Foundation, supported by the Rotary Club of Manningham and the Rotary Club of Dili Lafaek.

Head of Midwifery at UNTL, Dr Lidia Gomes, said the project follows joint research with La Trobe University that found local health providers needed urgent help to address the problem of domestic violence.

“Timor-Leste has one of the highest rates of domestic violence in the region, but when we interviewed local midwives we found that they don’t have a good understanding of the laws that protect women and need training and support to be able to help victims.”

Dr Kayli Wild from La Trobe University’s Judith Lumley Centre said students at UNTL and private university Cristal would pilot the new curriculum later this year.

“Students will undertake a new subject on domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse during their course – either in second or third year. We will also embed the topic of domestic violence in other subjects across the curriculum to reinforce its importance,” Dr Wild said.

Head of Midwifery at Cristal University, Angelina Fernandes, said graduates would leave university with the necessary skills to support victims.

“They will be taught what services are available and how to access these so that they can provide protection to women and children in their care.”

Luisa Marcal from PRADET said health care workers were often the first people victims encounter.

“Victims are in a vulnerable emotional and financial position and they need urgent assistance. Training nurses and midwives to help them will go a long way to addressing the problem.”


Dr Lidia Gomes (Timor). Ph: +670 7756 4395, 7339 1191, 7511 6393. lidiadcs@yahoo.com

Angelina Fernades (Timor) Ph: +670 7723 9282. Angelinafernandes02@yahoo.co.id

Dr Kayli Wild (Australia). Ph: 0402 917 959. K.wild@latrobe.edu.au