Violence against women, girls costs Seychelles $ 17.3 million annually, report finds
The Orange Day campaign in 2014 in Seychelles which was 16 Days of Activism Against gender-based violence. (Seychelles Nation)
(Seychelles News Agency) - Violence against women and girls in Seychelles is costing the country an estimated $17.3 million annually, according to a new report launched Thursday.
The report -- “Measuring the Economic Cost of Violence Against Women and Girls” -- found that the $17.3 million estimate represents 1.2 percent of Seychelles’ Gross Domestic Products (GDP), factoring in the cost of health care, the justice system, social services as well as the loss of earnings and productivity in the country’s economy.
During his opening remarks, Minister of Health Jean-Paul Adam said that violence against women and girls makes everyone vulnerable and unlike threats such as climate change, this is something that citizens can address right now.
“We appreciate immensely that Seychelles has been chosen as the pilot for this project which seeks to contribute to the effort to end violence against women and girls through the development of a revolutionary and living framework which measure the real impact that this violence has on our society,” said Adam.
He added that the government is committed to acting and that first and foremost “we need to lead with advocacy and sensitisation as to the scale of the problem and acknowledge that there is significant underreporting.”
A consultant for the project, Bazlul Khondker, said that there are two parts to the methodology used to compile the report.
“One covers the typical case cost based on administrative information and as it is underreported, you do not get the full picture. We used the parameter of the typical case as well as the population data to make a full case,” said Khondker.
|It was recommended at the launch that violence against women and girls are acknowledged as a priority development issue. (Louis Toussaint) Photo License: CC-BY|
It was outlined during the launching that the 2016 national baseline study in Seychelles, concluded that there is a serious underreporting of gender-based violence. The best sources of information on prevalence patterns and consequences are population-based surveys rather than police and hospital statistics and studies.
The key findings in the gender baseline survey in 2016 conducted by the National Bureau of Statistics showed that 59 percent of women had experienced violence once in their lifetime. The study further shows that most of the violence occurs in the home between intimate partners and that 54 percent of women have experienced intimate partner violence. 172 women out of the study’s 1560 respondents reported having experienced physical intimate partner violence and 78 percent of women who participated in the study confirmed that they have experienced some form of abuse before they reached 18 years.
Talking about the impact of violence against women and girls in Seychelles, Khondker said that in full case the cost is “4.6 percent of GDP.”
“In terms of budget, you can see that this is 1.5 percent more than the education budget of Seychelles for 2016,” said Khondker.
The report was presented to Seychelles’ Designated Minister, Macsuzy Mondon, by the Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, Patricia Scotland.
Attending the presentation was the Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, Patricia Scotland from Dominica, who said that the launching of the report today “brings together hugely important Commonwealth priorities - gender equality, women's empowerment, human rights and the dignity of each person, small states, and inclusive prosperity.”
Scotland said in her address that small state constitutes over 60 percent of Commonwealth’s membership and the leaders recognised that the Commonwealth has always been a strong advocate for the causes of small states.
“It is really appropriate that we should be here in Seychelles, giving the focus of the project and the report that we launch today is to support small states,” she said.
“This project offers real hope for transformative action that brings the parallel benefit of positive economic impact on all of our communities and on all of our nations,” she added.
The consultant -- Khondker -- recommended that capacity of policymakers, administrative officials, and programme stakeholders are enhanced to acknowledge violence against women and girls as a priority development issue by preparing and implementing an adequately funded plan of actions.
He further outlined that a multi-sectoral and inter-ministerial response to violence against women and girls is implemented through the establishment of mechanisms focusing on coordination and accountability.
Strengthening the capacity of national statistics office and administrative agencies in data collection on violence against women and girls for designing effective strategies and monitoring of progress was also suggested.