Country Eswatini Kingdom of
Year 2018
Type of Measure Violence against women > Legislation
Form of Violence Domestic violence/Intimate partner violence

Brief Description

The Sexual Offences and Domestic Violence (SODV) Act 2018 gives effect to international adopted treaties and also gives effect to the national constitution of 2005. The SODV Act deals with sexual offences and domestic violence issues in a non-discriminatory manner by eliminating gender inequalities and providing protection across board but more so for vulnerable persons such as women, children, persons with disabilities. It provides stiffer sentences to deter sexual offences and domestic violence offences in all spheres. Since the 1st August 2018, the courts have received about 203 cases under this Act, and 160 were rape cases. Out of these cases 11 have been concluded and 150 awaiting trial but having received bail, to mention just a few. The law is currently being popularised through awareness raising activities targeting all population groups. The Act also criminalizes sexual offences in the work place. 

With regards to forced marriages, The SODV Act has increased the age of maturity from 16 years to 18 years. This is in line with the National Constitution and the Children’s Protection and Welfare Act of 2012. 

The Act also criminalises abduction, “unlawfully taking a child out of the control of the custodian of that child or a person in charge of that child with the intention of marrying or enabling someone else to marry that child or with the intention of performing a sexual act or sexual violation with that child. National Statistics show very insignificant number of children married before the age of 18 (child marriage), and there is no evidence relating to forced marriages as since 2005 the national constitution provided protection for all persons intending to marry under section 27 (2) “Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses”. This has thus informed marriage structures and practice under the Swazi Law and Custom to ensure that consent is sought from both parties as opposed to previous traditional practices. 

Source of Information

Eswatini's submission for National Review for Implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action, Beijing+25, 2019, p.57, p.71, p.84 and p.89

For more information: Sexual Offences and Domestic Violence Act 2018