Lesotho

Population size: 

2,125,268 [1]

Number of people experiencing domestic abuse each year:

The study shows that 86% of women experienced some form of violence at least once in their lifetime, including partner and non-partner violence. Forty percent of men perpetrated violence against women (VAW) at least once in their lifetime. [2]

No research on male victims or other gender identities.

Cost of domestic abuse to the economy each year:

10.4% of GDP [3]

Estimated % change due to COVID-19:

Two weeks into the lock down, 18 cases of sexual assaults had been reported in the country, which represented an increase.[4]


Current law and policy:

Lesotho did not join the COMMIT Initiative. Lesotho’s government has so far been unable to pass a Domestic Violence Law, and fails to provide adequate services for victims of domestic violence. 

A 2019 report by the Southen Africa Litigation Centre, and Lesotho Federation of Women Lawyers, highlighted that Lesotho’s legislature has so far failed to enact the Lesotho Domestic Violence Bill of 2012. Matters concerning domestic violence and abuse are traditionally handled within the family, and the absence of a law governing domestic violence only exacerbates this issue.

Further to this, a 2018 Human Rights Report, found that the Child and Gender Protection Unit, various ministries and NGOs were seeking to change public perceptions of violence against women and children. The prime minister and the queen have also spoken strongly against rape and gender-based violence in Lesotho. In March 2018, the queen urged the wives of principal chiefs to work together to eradicate gender-based violence.

The government’s provision of shelters and other suitable protections for victims such as hotlines, is lacking, with only one shelter for abused women found. The shelter offers psychosocial services but was only able to assist some referred to its services. In fact, the majority of victims were not aware of the shelter.


Frontline Services:

 

Sources


[1] The World Bank, (1)

[2] https://genderlinks.org.za/csw-newsletter/lesotho-third-highest-prevalence-of-intimate-partner-violence-2015-06-10/

[3] http://economicsandpeace.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/The-Economic-Cost-of-Violence-Containment.pdf

[4] https://lesotho.unfpa.org/en/news/covid-19-lock-down-exacerbates-gender-based-violence-cases-lesotho


Further Reading


[1] https://www.justice.gov/eoir/page/file/1146356/download

[2] https://www.southernafricalitigationcentre.org/2019/07/03/salc-shadow-report-lesothos-3rd-universal-periodic-review-35th-session-jan-feb-2020/