The Bay Life - Issue 03 - January 2015

Page 22



A serious social evil South Africa has one of the highest incidences of domestic violence in the world. by: Joanne Anthony

Domestic violence remains the most common and widespread human rights abuse in South Africa. The statistics are horrific! We just need to open the newspaper and watch television to know that women are physically assaulted, raped or murdered, humiliated, harassed, intimidated and stalked by their spouses or intimate partners, on a daily basis in their own homes. The Domestic Violence Act recognises that domestic violence is a serious social evil in our society. The victims of domestic violence are among the most vulnerable members of society. Domestic violence takes on many forms and the acts of domestic violence may be committed in a wide range of domestic relationships. The purpose of the Act is to afford the victims of domestic violence, the maximum protection from abuse and to introduce measures which seek


to ensure that the relevant organs of state give full effect to the provisions of the Act. To convey that that State is committed to the elimination of domestic violence.


Domestic Violence Act 116 of 1998

A domestic relationship is defined as a relationship between the complainant and a Respondent in any of the following ways –

The Act was introduced in 1998 with the purpose of affording victims of domestic violence protection from domestic violence. The Act recognises that domestic violence is a serious crime against our society, and extends the definition of domestic violence to include not only married women and their children, but also unmarried women who are involved in relationships or living with their partners, people in same-sex relationships, mothers and their sons, and other people who share a living space.

(a) They were married to each other, including a marriage according to any law, custom or religion; (b) They ( whether they are of the same or opposite sex) live or loved together in a relationship in the nature of a marriage, although they are not, or were not, married to each other, or are not able to be married to each other; (c) They are the parents of a child or are persons who have had or had parental responsibility for that child; (d) They were or are engaged, dating or in a customary relationship, including an

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