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Child Protection: Timor-Leste

Since independence, Timor-Leste has made significant progress to establish a child protection system. Despite this, domestic and family violence remains commonplace with few mechanisms in place to protect children.

Violence against children in the home and at school is an ongoing problem that is often under-reported due to a societal belief that these domestic and classroom incidents are private. Girls and young women are particularly vulnerable to violence with 3 in 10 women aged 15-19 reported that they experienced physical violence in the last 12 months, with many cases going unreported.

UNICEF Timor-Leste with the support of UNICEF Australia has successfully piloted innovative programs to bring about positive change for child protection. But we need your help to do more.

7 in 10

children reported experiences of physical violence by their teacher in the past 12 months.

8 in 10

teachers think it is acceptable to beat a child under certain circumstances.


A room full of adults attending a workshop for social welfare in Timor-Leste.
Social welfare workers across the system in Timor-Leste attend the new workshop for social workers.
© UNICEF Timor-Leste/2022/Benevides

"Before, I felt very sad...but I refused to give up,” says Joanna, a government Child Protection officer from Manatuto, Timor-Leste. Joanna told us in the past there was not enough funding in her country to support children affected by violence.   

Joanna has been attending an innovative program designed to strengthen the child protection systems, including the legal and policy framework across the country. 

The training brings together like-minded professionals such as child protection officers, educators, police, gender-based or domestic violence shelter managers and community and government leaders. Through the training they learn to coordinate, and upskill their toolkit with positive child protection practices, ensuring that every child in Timor-Leste can grow up in a safe and nurturing environment.   

“Now in my work, I keep in mind that family and community influence children’s upbringing, and their care and interaction with children influence how children cope with their difficult situations,” she says. 

Joanna is confident that the child focused approach learnt in the training is making a huge impact in the lives of children. 

Protect children from harm in Timor-Leste

Donate today and change the lives of children who have been impacted by harmful practices and violence.


social welfare workers trained to deliver child protection services in 2021 alone.

"By supporting systems, networks and social norms that keep children safe from harm, UNICEF is helping to set young lives on a journey to happier, healthier and more prosperous futures."

Adrian De Giovanni
UNICEF Australia Head of International Programs

How will my donation help children in Timor-Leste?

Because UNICEF is 100 per cent donor funded – with some voluntary contributions from governments – our ability to provide long-term development programs like Child Protection to children in need depends on the generosity and commitment of donors, like you. We will combine your donation with funding from the Australian Government’s ANCP to reach even more children in need. 

$91 can provide training for one social welfare worker to deliver child protection services in their community 

$146 can help a social welfare worker to provide child protection support to up to five children and their families 

$244 can provide six weeks of psychosocial support and skills training for an adolescent girl at risk of gender-based violence 


    How do we use each dollar donated?

  • 82¢
    last year, 82 cents went directly to program expenditure and community education, including long-term development and emergency response work.
  • 13¢
    last year, 13 cents covered the essential costs of raising public awareness and fundraising to generate more support for UNICEF’s work.
  • 5¢
    last year, 5 cents were spent on UNICEF Australia’s accountability and administration.
A Timor-Leste boy looking at the camera
© UNICEF/UNI329953/Soares

Protect children from harm in Timor-Leste

Donate today and change the lives of children who have been impacted by harmful practices and violence.