Issue 14
Monday, 15 August 2016
Charles Darwin University
Law lecturer Jeswynn Yogaratnam
Law lecturer Jeswynn Yogaratnam

Fundraiser puts domestic violence law in focus

By Katie Weiss

Darwin legal experts are holding an art auction to raise funds for an organisation that monitors gaps in domestic violence laws in Timor-Leste.

Charles Darwin University School of Law researchers are working with the Northern Territory Bar Association to raise at least $5000 for the non-government Judicial System Monitoring Programme (JSMP).

Law lecturer Jeswynn Yogaratnam said the auction would be ongoing until the end of September and included paintings, fabrics and sculptures made by Indigenous Australian artists.

Mr Yogaratnam said domestic violence laws in Timor-Leste were quite progressive, but relied on advocacy and outreach programs conducted by the JSMP to be effective.

“For these domestic violence laws to be effective, stakeholders including police, lawyers, health care professionals, and traditional community leaders must engage with each other on the meaning and application of the law,” he said.

“This is important for there to be an attitudinal and behavioural shift in treating domestic violence as a public crime and not merely a family matter.”

Mr Yogaratnam said JSMP and other non-government organisations in the region were involved in conducting baseline studies and reporting on gender equality, and women’s and children’s rights.

“Work conducted by these groups allows for the assessment of the country’s international obligations under international conventions ratified by Timor-Leste, including the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women and the Convention of the Right of the Child,” he said.

The auction is being held following the NT Bar Association’s recent annual conference, supported by the CDU School of Law, in the nation’s capital of Dili.

To donate or learn more about the art auction, contact Mr Yogaratnam on T: 08 8946 6085 or E: