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PRADET – Psychosocial Recovery and Development in East Timor



PRADETPsychosocial Recovery and Development in East Timor – began in January 2002 and is ongoing. It offers support for women, men, children, and families who suffer from severe mental trauma, violence, and severe social problems due to extreme violence.


Its current policy objectives are:

  • To reduce and eliminate those problems that affect people with trauma and mental illness;
  • To provide assistance and counseling by a multidisciplinary team composed by medical personnel, social workers, nurses, lawyers, and community leaders;
  • To provide refuge and support to victims of domestic violence;
  • To assist, support, and train for the social reintegration of young people in prison and their families;
  • To prevent child abuse and human trafficking;
  • To implement a programme of forensic assistance and research in cases of violence within the 13 districts of the country; and
  • To implement Peace Education programmes at the community level;

From 2002 to June 2009, 792 people, mostly women victims of domestic violence, were attended and helped by the different programmes. PRADET’s capacity (i.e., infrastructure, technical, and human resources) to assist and follow-up with victims is about five individuals daily.

Activities development

The nature of the participation processes implemented are two-fold: First, the group Alma (‘Soul’) was created, composed of local leaders, PRADET, and other citizens interested in this issue, which meets every week to collect and share data, discuss and debate methods and findings, develop public actions, and publish information or analytical materials on violence and trauma in East Timor. Second, recovering from trauma is in itself a participatory process where professionals and victims commit together into a deep and long process of healing and understanding of causes and impacts of violence.

The country has no coherent and cohesive domestic institutions and no clear national policy on this issue. Aside from the CAVR centre which has a library, several exhibitions, and regular training courses about peace education, there are no other public institutions dealing on a regularly basis with post-traumatic stress syndrome, domestic violence, or abuse of children and young people. Having said this, the actions of PRADET in cooperation with a range of other organizations and entities (listed in the case narrative) can be understood as the main existent public service in this sector.


PRADET’s yearly budget is about U.S.$40,000, financed by the Christian Blind Mission, Germany; East Timor's Ministry of Health and Ministry of Justice; and Caritas Australia. In addition, the policy benefits from voluntary work and the mutual cooperation among organizations and services in the field.


Key results and achievements are: 792 victims attended and followed in seven years; one safe-house established; 24-hour service; lobbying of political authorities about the issue and sector; increased awareness about the global trauma endured by the people and society and its deep and long-term impacts.


The main obstacles have been: financial stability and adequate financial resources to amplify the services; adequate staff training; a lack of technical resources and specialized doctors and social workers; the lack of a coherent political vision from the government about the issue; a lack of political will to evaluate the magnitude of the problem and set up corresponding measures and services; a lack of political dialogue at the governmental level; and political instability and the associated syndromes of youth violence, domestic violence, child and handicapped abuse, and human trafficking.