SWAGAA Abuse Statistics for 2012

These are statistics I recently released to the press…they were published last week in the Swazi Observer.  It’s Marula season so there are lots of stories in the press about drunken abuse (Marula is a fruit and annually an alcoholic beverage is made, as part of traditional customs). Our stats will be high this month… I will report when I get them. In the meantime, here’s last year and you’ll notice February is marked as an excessive month for abuse.

During 2012, SWAGAA provided care and support for 1149 cases. This was slightly down from last year’s number which was 1248. Since abuse is under-reported, this does not mean there is a decease of abuse in Swaziland. On average, SWAGAA counselors took care of 96 cases per month. The months with the highest number of new clients were: January, February and October.

•    Emotional abuse cases were the highest at 50%, followed by physical at 19%, sexual at 15%, financial at 12% and neglect at 4%.

•    69% of survivors were female, 31% male. There has been a 3% increase in males reporting from 2011’s figures.

•    73% of perpetrators were male, 27% were female. Males went up by 1% compared to last year.

•    82% of perpetrators were family members, relatives or in a spousal or boyfriend/girlfriend relationship with the survivor.

•    The majority of survivors (284) were between 26-40 years old. 92 cases were children between 0-17.

•    89% of cases occurred in the home.

•    20% of clients were HIV positive, 4% were HIV negative and 4% did not wish to disclose. An astonishing 27% did not know their status.

There were 608 cases that occurred within the Manzini Region, 174 in Hhohho, 128 in Lubombo and 47 in Shiselweni. The high percentage of abuse cases in Manzini corresponds with the location of our main office.

The majority of cases, 647, were emotional/verbal abuse. Physical abuse was next at 245, followed by sexual abuse at 195 and financial abuse at 156. The remaining types of abuse cases were neglect and human trafficking as shown in the figure below.

Of survivor clients, 69% were female and 31% were male. There was a slight increase in the number of males reporting abuse especially emotional abuse. Last year’s figures were 28% male survivor clients.
The data relating to the sex of the perpetrator shows 73% were male and 27% were females.

Relationship between Survivor and Perpetrator
According to the available data, 82% of the perpetrators were family members, relatives or in a relationship (spouse/boyfriend/girlfriend) with the client. The data indicates that in the majority of cases the perpetrator is well known to the survivor of violence.


From available data on 650 SWAGAA clients, 284 were 26-40 years old. 135 clients were 18-25 and 117 were 41-60. A total of 92 clients were children between the ages of 0 and 17. Two clients did not state their age.

From a total of 650 reported cases, 576 occurred within the home. This means 89% of the reported cases of abuse happened at home. Nine cases did not state where the abuse occurred.

Abuse VS Relationships
Analysis on the abuse within the home and relationship with perpetrators demonstrates that 47% of abuse at home is committed in ‘relationships’, meaning husbands, wives, boyfriends, girlfriends etc. Family members and relatives cause 38% of the abuse which occurs at home.


The HIV status of 650 clients was collected during the counseling process. 20% of the clients were HIV positive, 46% were HIV negative and 4% did not wish to disclose their status. An astonishing 27% of clients did not know their HIV status which demonstrates a need for survivors of abuse to have access to Voluntary Counseling and Testing services.

•    The cases reported to SWAGAA represent only a proportion of the abuse which is occurring in Swaziland. According the A National Study on Violence against Children and Young Women in Swaziland by UNICEF in 2007, approximately 1 in 3 females have experienced some form of sexual violence as a child. Therefore conclusions can be drawn that there are a significant number of unreported cases. Continued advocacy and awareness needs to be conducted in order to increase reporting.
•    89% of the SWAGAA abuse cases happened within the home and the perpetrators were well known to the survivors. There needs to be an effort to increase safe spaces within Swazi homes and to investigate the role of such cultural practices as Tibi Tendlu (keeping family matters private).

Leave a Reply