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Key findings
  • While half (50%) of Seychellois say parents are “never” justified in using physical force to discipline their children, about the same proportion (49%) endorse the practice.
  • Almost two-thirds (63%) of citizens say the use of physical force to discipline children is not very common in their community.
  • Three in 10 respondents (31%) say child abuse and neglect are frequent problems in their community, while 58% disagree. Out-of-school children are seen as a common occurrence by 44% of citizens. o Poor citizens are significantly more likely to perceive child abuse/neglect (55%) and out-of-school children (56%) as common problems than well-off respondents (26% and 39%, respectively).
  • About three-fourths of Seychellois say resources are available in their community to help abused and neglected children (75%), children with disability (77%), and children and adults with mental or emotional problems (74%). o The poor are considerably less likely than better-off citizens to report that support services for vulnerable children are available in their community.
  • Most Seychellois (71%) say the government is doing a good job of protecting and promoting the well-being of vulnerable children. o Poor and less educated citizens are least satisfied with the government’s performance on child welfare.

Seychelles’ policy and legal framework to protect and promote child well-being has  included free and compulsory education for children aged 5-16 since 1978. The National  Plan of Action for Children (2005-2009) formalised a commitment to enhancing children’s  well-being. Most recently, the Children (Amendment) Act 2020 outlawed corporal  punishment of children in all settings, including schools, homes, and alternative care settings  (Government of Seychelles, 2005, 2020; Purvis, 2020). 

Despite this legal arsenal, issues pertaining to the protection and well-being of children  remain, including child labour and sexual exploitation (Humanium, 2020). A recent case  shocked the nation and highlighted the new dangers of social media: In 2020, three men,  including a police officer, were convicted of sexual offences against 75 girls aged 12-18 whom they had recruited and groomed via social media (Africa Legal Information, 2020;  Seychelles News Agency, 2020). In response, the government established the Seychelles  Child Law Reform Committee to review the country’s legal framework for children in line with  international law obligations and best practices (Judiciary of Seychelles, 2020).  

What is the perspective of Seychelles citizens regarding their country’s efforts in safeguarding children’s welfare? 

This dispatch reports on a special survey module included in the Afrobarometer Round 9  (2021/2023) questionnaire to explore Africans’ attitudes and perceptions related to child  well-being.  

Survey findings show that Seychellois are evenly divided on whether the use of physical force  to discipline children is justified, though a majority say neither corporal punishment nor child  abuse and neglect are common in their community.  

Most also say that support services are available in their community for abused or neglected  children, for children with disability, and for children and adults with mental or emotional  problems. And a majority of Seychellois are satisfied with the government’s performance on  child welfare. But compared to economically well-off citizens, poor respondents are  significantly more likely to see child abuse and neglect as common problems and less likely  to say that support services are available and that the government is doing a good job of  protecting and promoting the well-being of vulnerable children. 

Anne Okello

Anne is the assistant project manager for East Africa