The Seychellois Family Tribunal was established under section 77 of the Children Act. According to section 78 of the Children Act, the Tribunal has jurisdiction to hear matters relating to, inter alia, care, custody and maintenance of children and has developed rich jurisprudence on these issues. Once the Supreme Court has dissolved a marriage, it leaves the issues regarding the children's care, custody and maintenance, where there are children of the marriage, to be resolved by the Family Tribunal. In 2000, the Family Violence (Protection of Victims) Act was enacted which, under section 3, extends the jurisdiction of the Tribunal to the granting of protection orders under this Act. In Jean v. Sinon, the Supreme Court held that the purpose of the Family Violence (Protection of Victims) Act is ‘to protect victims from violence from members of their family.’ Since then, the Tribunal has dealt with hundreds of cases resulting in making hundreds of protection orders or referring the parties to probation services for counselling or for treatment/rehabilitation in alcohol or drug-related cases. It has also made many eviction orders and sentenced many people to imprisonment for breaching protection orders. The purpose of this chapter is to illustrate from a close examination of the cases how the Tribunal has implemented the Family Violence (Protection of Victims) Act (the Act).
THE FEATURES OF FAMILY VIOLENCE IN THE SEYCHELLES
In this section, the author highlights the features of family violence in the Seychelles by focusing on perpetrators and victims of family violence; factors contributing to family violence; and types/nature of abuse (family violence).
2.1 PERPETRATORS AND VICTIMS OF FAMILY VIOLENCE
Section 3(2) of the Act provides that ‘[a]n application for a protection order may be made – (a) by a family member who has been or may be subjected to family violence.’ Section 2(1) of the Act lists the following as family members of the person:
(a) a spouse or former spouse of the person; (b) a son, daughter, grandson or granddaughter of the person or of the spouse or of a former spouse of the person; (c) a brother, sister, parent, or grandparent of the person or of the spouse or of a former spouse of the person; (d) a member of the household of the person or of the spouse or of a former spouse of the person;