The Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland has applauded a new legislation in Seychelles aimed at curbing gender-based violence targeting mainly women and girls.President Danny Faure signed the Domestic Violence Act into law after lawmakers unanimously voted for it to be passed.
It outlines tougher penalties for offenders and proponents hope it will better protect victims.
Cases of violence against women and girls have spiked in Seychelles since the turn of the new century with 5, 400 new ones registered at the Family Tribunal from 2009 to 2019.
In a statement to APA on Wednesday the Commonwealth scribe said the Act will play a critical role in reducing the number of annual reported cases.
“The unanimous passing of the new Domestic Violence bill by the National Assembly of Seychelles, which has now been made law, must be recognised and commended. It sends a powerful message that violence against women and girls is wholly unacceptable and detrimental to society. The timing could not be more critical with the increase in reported incidents of domestic violence across the globe under COVID-19 lockdown measures” Ms Scotland said.
“This milestone is the culmination of dedicated work by the government and I am pleased the Commonwealth Secretariat was able to provide relevant support along this journey” she added.
The Seychellian Family Affairs minister, Mitcy Larue, who championed the bill to the National Assembly said the new legislation will usher in a new culture and way of living on the island.
The Commonwealth said since 2017, its Secretariat has pioneered ground-breaking research to estimate the direct and indirect costs of violence against women and girls (VAWG), applying the methodology to the situation in Seychelles.
According to its estimation gender-based violence had cost the Seychellian economy about 4.6 percent of GDP in 2016 – one percent higher than its annual national budget for education.