Domestic violence

The rigorous steps the justice, crime prevention and security (JCPS) cluster is taking to root out genderbased violence is the adoption of zero-tolerance towards rape, violation of the rights of lesbian,
gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people and other forms of violence towards women and children.

The Department of Justice and Constitutional Development (DoJ&CD) has, after engaging with Regional Court presidents, identified 57 Regional Courts across the country for use as dedicated Sexual Offences courts. The department allocated a separate budget in its 2013 MTEF to increase the capacity of these courts. The earmarked budget was used in particular for the following:

  • the creation of additional Regional magistrates’ posts to increase the capacity of these courts
  • appointment of additional personnel including intermediaries
  • skills development programmes and social context training for regional magistrates and personnel of these courts
  • enhancing the services provided by the TCCs which are essential in addressing secondary victimisation. More funds will be mobilised to increase the 51 TCCs across the country
  • the installation and maintenance of the technological equipment fi tted in the designated courts, such as CCTV cameras, to ensure the integrity of the judicial process.

The Ndabezitha Project with the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) trains traditional leaders and clerks of the court in domestic-violence matters in rural areas. This includes the development of a safety tool and intersectoral statistical tool by the NPA and the DoJ&CD.

The department engaged in research methodology called the 10-Year Review of Implementation of the Domestic Violence Act of 1998 aimed at taking stock of all initiatives and projects in courts and the CJS to address the reduction and prevention of domestic violence.

The Protection from Harassment Act, 2011 (Act 17 of 2011), is the first specific legislation to address sexual harassment in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region. The essence of the Act is to provide a quick, easy and affordable civil remedy in the form of a protection order for incidences of stalking. The legislation arose out of a SALRC investigation into the legal framework governing stalking and domestic violence. A key component of the Act is that it seeks to cover all forms of stalking, not just that involving people engaged in a relationship. A protection order can be issued instructing the harasser to cease harassment.

The Act sets out how a complainant is to apply for a protection order and the procedure to be followed in granting one. The legislation also provides for the issuing of an interim protection order without the knowledge of the respondent, given certain conditions. A victim of cyberstalking can apply to a court for an interim protection order even when the identity of the alleged stalker is unknown. The law will also empower the police to investigate a stalker to identify the perpetrator even before a victim launches an application for a protection order.

More on domestic violence.

Source: SA Yearbook 2013/14