Gender-based violence is a high priority for officials in Sierra Leone, but citizens say it is a private matter. This is according to dispatch reports on a special survey module included in the Afrobarometer Round 9 (2021/2022) questionnaire to explore Africans’ perceptions on gender-based violence.

Survey findings show that in Sierra Leone, gender-based violence is the most important women’s-rights issue that citizens want the government to address.

Most citizens strongly oppose the use of physical force against women. But a majority of citizens also say domestic violence should be treated as a private matter to be resolved within the family rather than as a criminal matter requiring law enforcement to get involved.

And while most Sierra Leoneans think the police take GBV cases seriously, many also consider it likely that a woman reporting an incident of GBV will be criticised, harassed, or shamed by other members of the community.