Fast facts

Total population:1,301,562

Internet penetration rate: 75.76%

State bodies tasked with tackling GBV: Ministry of Gender Equality and Family Welfare | Family Support Bureaux | Mauritius Police Force (MPF) | Brigade pour la Protection de la Famille (MPF) | Cyber Crime Unit (MPF) | Crime Records Office (MPF) | Ministry of Social Integration, Social Security and National Solidarity | Welfare and Elderly Persons’ Protection Unit (WEPPU)

GBV laws and policies in Mauritius


  • Constitution, 1968

The Constitution of the Republic of Mauritius upholds principles of non-discrimination. While most laws in Mauritius do not discriminate based on gender, certain exceptions exist. Notably, Section 3 of the Mauritius Citizenship Act (1968) grants citizenship to adopted minors based on the citizenship of the adopter, potentially impacting gender dynamics. Additionally, Section 6 of the Pensions Act (1951) provides for gratuity to female officers upon retirement due to marriage, irrespective of their eligibility for other benefits, potentially reinforcing traditional gender roles.

Enacted in 1997, the Protection from Domestic Violence Act 1997 (PDVA) aims to safeguard spouses (and, with subsequent amendments, any other person living under the same roof) from domestic violence. This legislation introduces mechanisms for issuing Protection Orders, which restrain abusers from further acts of violence and require them to maintain good conduct, typically for a duration not exceeding two years. Additionally, the PDVA grants provisions for Occupation Orders, granting victims exclusive rights to reside in a shared residence, and Tenancy Orders, ensuring victims’ occupancy rights in rented accommodations. Subsequent amendments to the PDVA in 2004, 2007, 2011, and 2016 expanded its scope to protect all family members residing under the same roof, imposed stricter penalties for breaching court orders, introduced counseling services for perpetrators, and enhanced enforcement officer powers.

Enacted in 2022 in order to replace the outdated Child Protection Act, The Children’s Act 2020 represents a comprehensive overhaul of previous legislation, intending to address shortcomings and align with international standards, notably the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) and the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child. Key provisions include enhancing care, protection, and assistance for children, promoting their rights and best interests, and establishing structures for monitoring their holistic development.

This Act provides for a Protection Division, addressing child protection matters, and a Criminal Division, handling cases of sexual offenses against children among others.

The Child Sex Offender Register Act establishes a register to monitor and track individuals convicted of sexual offenses against children, contributing significantly to efforts to prevent and combat such crimes.

This Act, which superseded the Employment Rights Act of 2008, was introduced to establish a modern and comprehensive framework for safeguarding the rights of workers. Section 5 of the act prohibits discriminatory treatment by employers, encompassing differentiation based on various factors, with a significant emphasis on sexual orientation.

Furthermore, Section 64 provides protection against the termination of work agreements solely on the basis of sexual orientation. Addressing workplace violence in Section 114, the Act defines harassment as any unwelcome conduct directed at a worker, encompassing verbal, non-verbal, visual, psychological, or physical behaviours, with explicit reference to sexual orientation. Notably, the enactment of the Workers’ Rights Act represented a significant milestone, being the first legal document in Mauritius to explicitly acknowledge both ‘sexual orientation’ and ‘gender’.

This Act aims to modernise and enhance the legislative framework to foster women’s empowerment and promote gender equality, particularly through increased participation in social, economic, and political spheres.

  • Gender Equality Bill

The government of Mauritius, through a strategic overview, has a draft Gender Equality Bill, currently in the consultation phase, aimed at promoting, protecting, and regulating gender equality across both public and private spheres. This comprehensive legislation seeks to eradicate gender-based discrimination. By incorporating gender equality principles into existing and proposed laws, the Bill aims to address socio-economic inequalities and achieve substantive equality in all aspects of society, including social, economic, and political domains. Furthermore, the Bill strives to create equal opportunities for men and women while imposing responsibilities on both public and private entities to eliminate barriers that perpetuate gender discrimination. Moreover, the Bill aims to foster equality and balance in family roles, unpaid care work, and employment opportunities for individuals of all genders, reflecting Mauritius’ commitment to advancing gender equality and inclusivity.


This framework serves as a cornerstone for addressing GBV, emphasising its elimination. Chaired by Prime Minister Jugnauth, a dedicated committee promotes inter-ministerial collaboration. Four Technical Working Groups under NSAP focus on societal norms, survivor support, discriminatory practices, and monitoring. Notably, NSAP aims to increase GBV reporting through initiatives like the Lespwar (Hope) Mobile App, developed and implemented in collaboration with various ministries.

  • Family Support Bureaux:

Operated by the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family Welfare, these bureaux play a crucial role in compiling data and providing support to victims of GBV.

  • National Gender Policy (2022-2030):

This policy framework outlines collective action towards achieving gender equality and empowering women and girls. It aligns with UN Sustainable Development Goal No. 5 and commits to promoting gender equality in legislation, and decision-making processes, and eliminating gender-based violence.

Other initiatives

  • The Prime Minister, Mr. Pravind Kumar Jugnauth, chairs a High-Level Committee on the Elimination of Gender-Based Violence.
  • An Inter-Ministerial High-Level Committee on GBV, chaired by the Prime Minister, was established to combat the scourge of GBV.
  • Programs like Men as Caring Partners, Pre-Marital Counselling, Marriage Enrichment, and Intergenerational Relationship Programs aim to address GBV comprehensively. Rehabilitation programs for perpetrators and economic empowerment initiatives are also in place.

Collaborative efforts with religious leaders through the Interfaith Forum aim to address domestic violence through religious guidance and support.


The Cybersecurity and Cybercrimes Act broadly addresses online threats and crimes, providing a legal framework to combat cybercrimes, including OGBV. In terms of the Act, the following conduct is criminalised:

  • unauthorised access to computer data;
  • unauthorised interception of computer service;
  • unauthorised interference;

access with intent to commit offences;

  • unauthorised modification of computer data;
  • unauthorised disclosure of passwords;
  • unlawful possession of devices and computer data;
  • electronic fraud;
  • computer-related forgery;
  • misuse of fake profile;
  • cyberbullying;
  • cyber extortion;
  • revenge pornography;
  • cyberterrorism;
  • infringement of copyright and related rights;
  • offences involving critical information infrastructure;
  • failure to moderate undesirable content;
  • disclosure of details of an investigation; and
  • obstruction of investigations.

It also establishes CERT-MU mentioned above, granting the team several functions, including, advising and assisting the government in the development; providing technical assistance to law enforcement agencies in the resolution of cybersecurity incidents, and promoting research and development in cybersecurity.

The Data Protection Act focuses on safeguarding personal data. In defining “special categories of personal data”, includes personal data relating to someone’s sexual orientation, practice, and preferences, amongst others. Part II of the Act establishes the Data Protection Office, which is empowered to investigate and enforce the unlawful disclosure of data.

A portal to enable and empower

A portal to enable and empower

GBV trends and resources in Mauritius

Over the years, Mauritius has undertaken various measures to address GBV and its underlying causes. However, challenges remain in their implementation and effectiveness. A 2022 Afrobarometer survey found that GBV was the leading women’s rights concern among Mauritian respondents. This issue often remains obscured in discourse and policy, despite domestic violence having been criminalised through the Protection from Domestic Violence Act (PDVA) 1997. Several interconnected factors contribute to the rise of GBV and VAW in Mauritius.

  • The COVID-19 pandemic amplified existing challenges, such as excessive alcohol consumption, unemployment, and prolonged working hours, creating a volatile environment conducive to domestic violence.
  • Substance misuse, exacerbated by the pandemic, intensified the occurrence of domestic violence. Gender inequality and patriarchy within households contribute to power imbalances, fostering an environment where violence can thrive.
  • Disproportionate resource allocation, coupled with a gender pay gap, leads to discrimination against women in the labour force, exacerbating vulnerabilities and contributing to GBV.
  • Economic instability and precarious livelihoods further intensify the risk of violence, particularly against women who may face challenges in accessing job opportunities and financial independence.
  • Women aged 18-45, particularly within the 26-45 age bracket, are disproportionately affected, constituting 55% of victims/survivors. Male victims/survivors tend to be more evenly distributed across age groups, with a slight majority in the 46-59 age category.
  • Victims/survivors of domestic violence are overrepresented in the early years of marriage, with nearly one-third reporting victimisation within the 0-5 years category. Those in their first to ten years of marriage make up 57% of reported cases.
  • Beyond direct forms of abuse, issues such as family abandonment, conflicts related to care and custody of children, divorce procedures, in-law conflicts, and economic disputes contribute to the complex landscape of GBV.

Nonetheless, Mauritius has undertaken a multifaceted approach to combat GBV encompassing legislative measures, strategic planning, advocacy, and the provision of supportive services. At the domestic level, Mauritius has implemented robust legislation to protect vulnerable populations, including women, children, and the LGBTQIA+ community. Policies, and programs have been implemented to empower women at all levels of society. These initiatives aim to address GBV comprehensively, with a focus on promoting women’s safety and socio-economic advancement.

In recent years, there has been a Mauritian Cybercrime Online Reporting System with an emphasis on the legal and administrative frameworks related to GBV, with notable efforts to collect disaggregated gender data. The National Gender Policy (2022-2030) and the National Strategy and Action Plan for the Elimination of GBV (2020-2024) represent key components of Mauritius’s strategy. However, challenges remain in the absence of a legal framework specifically addressing the collection of disaggregated gender data related to GBV.

Advocacy events and initiatives, such as the establishment of a High-Level Committee on GBV chaired by the Prime Minister and the implementation of the National Strategy through Technical Working Groups, illustrate a robust commitment to eradicating GBV. The development and promotion of the GBV Mobile App ‘Lespwar’ (Hope), a collaborative effort between the government and the UNDP,  and various reporting mechanisms through hotlines, police stations, and hospitals, underscore the proactive measures taken to encourage reporting and provide support to survivors.

However, the socio-economic drivers of GBV in Mauritius remain complex and multifaceted. The interplay of deep-rooted gender norms, economic vulnerabilities, and cultural stigmas continues to challenge the efficacy of existing measures. Economic instability, poverty, and societal acceptance of violence against women further complicate efforts to combat GBV.

With respect to OGBV, challenges persist in obtaining comprehensive data. The primary data source is the Mauritian Cybercrime Online Reporting System (MAUCORS), managed by the Computer Emergency Response Team of Mauritius (CERT-MU). Presently, data collected through MAUCORS is not exclusively dedicated to GBV, hindering a complete understanding of OGBV prevalence and characteristics. In addition to online challenges, indications suggest an increase in GBV trends in various societal settings, yet comprehensive data is limited.

The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated the prevalence of violence against women, with domestic violence emerging as a concerning pandemic within the broader health crisis. Approximately one in four women in the country reported experiencing GBV, with a troubling five-fold surge in cases during the 2020 lockdown period. Following the second phase of the pandemic in March 2021, reported cases of violence against women escalated.

In conclusion, while Mauritius has taken significant steps towards addressing GBV and its underlying causes, the increase in cases during the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need for more effective and accessible support mechanisms. The country’s commitment to international human rights obligations and the development of comprehensive national strategies provide a foundation for progress. However, addressing the socio-economic drivers of GBV, enhancing data collection efforts, and fostering a cultural shift towards gender equality are essential for achieving long-term success in combating GBV in Mauritius.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Mauritius witnessed a stark increase in GBV cases. Approximately 1 in 4 women in the country reported experiencing GBV, with a troubling five-fold surge in cases during the 2020 lockdown period. Following the second phase of the pandemic in March 2021, reported cases of violence against women escalated.

In April 2021, the Minister of Gender Equality and Family Welfare disclosed that there had been 293 reported cases of domestic violence in just 18 days. In 2022, Statistics Mauritius highlighted that 82.1% of reported domestic violence cases involved women. Several factors contributed to the surge in domestic violence during the pandemic:

  • Increased time spent in confined spaces with abusers, limiting escape options.
  • Disconnection from support systems, such as schools and workplaces.
  • Shelters not accommodating residents during the pandemic.
  • Pandemic-induced unemployment creates financial dependency.

The widely promoted ‘Stay Home’ slogan inadvertently proved unsafe for some individuals, as home became a breeding ground for violence. A lack of established safe spaces and delayed legal aid exacerbated the challenges. Some women lacked the literacy to access helplines or navigate bureaucratic procedures.

In 2022, the Mauritius Gender Equality and Family Welfare reported a concerning number of cases of domestic violence. Out of 5,381 reported cases, 4,374 were reported by females and 941 by males. Additionally, 1,632 women and 317 men were victims of physical abuse, while 612 cases of sexual violence and exploitation were reported, with 93% involving female victims.

Victims/survivors of GBV in Mauritius have legal recourse through reporting incidents to the police. However, the effectiveness of legal mechanisms in providing justice and protection may vary. Besides, various societal factors such as gender inequality, cultural norms, economic disparities, and lack of awareness may contribute to the occurrence of GBV. Hence, specific events or policies, such as public awareness campaigns, legislative changes, or economic downturns, may influence the occurrences of GBV positively or negatively. However, detailed information on specific events impacting GBV rates in Mauritius is not provided in the available data.

In a multi-ethnic, multicultural, and patriarchal society like Mauritius, the socio-economic drivers of GBV are multifaceted and deeply interconnected. The unique blend of cultural norms, economic disparities, and gender inequalities contributes to the prevalence of GBV. In 2022, an Afrobarometer survey illustrates that the most important women’s rights issue in Mauritius is GBV from 34% of Mauritian respondents.


Mauritius faces challenges in understanding the true extent of OGBV. Data on cybercrimes, including instances on social media, are primarily sourced from the Computer Emergency Response Team of Mauritius (CERT-MU) through the Mauritian Cybercrime Online Reporting System (MAUCORS). While MAUCORS is a valuable resource for reporting and combating cybercrimes, including potential OGBV cases, data disaggregation by gender is currently unavailable. The primary dataset accessible for officially reported instances of cybercrimes occurring on social media platforms is sourced from the Computer Emergency Response Team of Mauritius (CERT-MU) via the Mauritian Cybercrime Online Reporting System (MAUCORS). MAUCORS stands as a national online platform facilitating secure reporting of cybercrimes on social media, representing a pivotal component of the broader Cybercrime Strategy. Additionally, MAUCORS offers guidance to aid in the identification and prevention of common cybercrimes on social media websites. It is essential to note that the information collected through MAUCORS is not exclusively dedicated to GBV but encompasses various forms of cybercrimes, with technology-facilitated GBV potentially representing only a subset of reported incidents.

Over the years, Mauritius has undertaken various measures to address GBV and its underlying causes, although challenges remain in their implementation and effectiveness. Since achieving independence in 1968, successive governments have demonstrated a commitment to safeguarding women’s rights and enhancing their quality of life. One significant step was the establishment of the Ministry of Women’s Affairs in 1982, dedicated to promoting women’s safety, well-being, and economic security.

Legislative reforms, policies, and programs have been implemented to empower women at all levels of society. These initiatives aim to address GBV comprehensively, with a focus on promoting women’s safety and socio-economic advancement. The National Women’s Council, functioning as a platform for women to voice their needs and aspirations, was further strengthened by new legislation enacted in 2018, enhancing its role in advocating for women’s rights. However, despite these efforts, challenges persist in effectively combating GBV. A notable concern highlighted by the National Strategy and Action Plan of the High-Level Committee on the Elimination of GBV is the absence of a centralised data system on domestic violence/GBV. This lack of comprehensive data hampers informed decision-making and policy formulation, hindering the effectiveness of interventions.

Moreover, reports from the Public Accounts Committee in March 2022 have pointed out deficiencies in the implementation of existing systems, such as the Domestic Violence Information System (DOVIS). The under-utilisation and lack of updating of DOVIS have resulted in several cases of domestic violence going unrecorded electronically, undermining efforts to address GBV effectively.

Furthermore, despite the enactment of the PDVA, challenges persist in curbing GBV. Reports indicate that a significant percentage of women in Mauritius have experienced violence, and breaches of protection orders by perpetrators continue to occur.

In summary, while Mauritius has implemented various measures to tackle GBV and empower women, there are significant challenges in their implementation and effectiveness. Addressing issues such as data collection, system utilisation, and enforcement of existing laws is crucial to effectively combat GBV and its root causes in Mauritius.

  • Ambulance: 999/114
  • SOS Femmes: 233 3054
  • Hotline for domestic violence: 139
  • Hotline for Family counseling: 119
  • Hotline for Child abuse: 139
  • Police Emergency Response: 6865500
  • Police Family Protection Unit (PFPU): 5251 2730
  • Family Support Bureaux (FSB):
  • Port-Louis: 213-0737/213-0001/213-0002
  • Goodlands: 283 -7240/283-3000
  • ​Bambous: 452- 5752/452-1200
  • ​Phoenix: 697-9940/698-3609​
  • ​Souillac: 625 -1242/625-0089​
  • Flacq: 420-1605​​​​/ 413-2322/413 2252​
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