Justice Home The Constitution Flag

Criminal Law

Home> Criminal Law> Domestic Violence

Domestic Violence

Gender Based Violence Command Centre

How to get a protection order

New changes to protect Victims/Survivors of Domestic Violence

My Safety Plan

Audio Book: Domestic Violence My Safety Plan, 2014 [50:11min, mp3]

 

Intimate Relationship Questionnaire

In the Domestic Violence Amendment Act, 2021 (Act No. 14 of 2021) the definition of ‘domestic violence’ was expanded to include the following new acts of domestic violence:

COERCIVE BEHAVIOUR:
occurs when the abuser compels or forces the victim to abstain from or do anything that he or she has a lawful right to do;

CONTROLLING BEHAVIOUR:
occurs when the victim is made to be dependent on or subservient to the abuser, e.g. isolating the victim from sources of support; regulating the everyday behaviour or movement of the victim, etc.

ECONOMIC ABUSE:
now also includes deprivation of financial resources to which the complainant is entitled under law, such as education expenses and rent in respect of the shared residence or accommodation, etc.

EXPOSE A CHILD TO DOMESTIC VIOLENCE:
occurs where the abuser intentionally causes a child to see or hear domestic violence, or experience the effects of domestic violence.

ELDER ABUSE:
relates to an abuse of an older person within a domestic relationship as contemplated in the Older Persons Act, 2006 (Act No. 13 of 2006);

RELATED PERSON ABUSE:
It is now possible for a person to take a legal action in terms of this Act against the abuser who threatens to cause or commits physical violence to or damage to property of a related person, where such actions can in the circumstances be regarded to cause harm to the related person concerned.

SEXUAL HARASSMENT:
includes unwelcome sexual attention from the abuser who knows or ought reasonably
to know that such attention is unwelcome.

SPIRITUAL ABUSE:
includes the manipulation of the victim’s religious or spiritual convictions and beliefs to justify or rationalise the abuse of such victim.

What is the extended definition of ‘domestic relationship’?

A person in a close relationship who shares or shared the same residence with the victim has a domestic relationship with such victim. A close relationship is determined by the degree of trust between the victim and abuser, the level of dependence, the length of time of the relationship, etc. The parties need not be related in any manner.

Who is required to act against domestic violence?

Any adult person has a legal obligation to report to a social worker or police knowledge, belief or suspicion of an act of domestic violence perpetrated against a child, person with disability, or an older person. A failure to do so amounts to a punishable offence. A person who fails to report such knowledge, reasonable belief or suspicion is guilty of an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding 3 months or to both a fine and such imprisonment.

Is there any protection afforded to a whistle blower?

No civil or criminal action can be instituted against the reporter or whistle blower if the report of the alleged or suspected abuse was made in good faith. The disclosure of the identity of the reporter is not permitted, unless the interests of justice require otherwise.

Read more in the New changes introduced by Law to Protect Victims/Survivors of Domestic Violence, 2023 booklet.


Services


Legislation:
Follow this link to view the Act & Regulations 2023 English - Sesotho - Siswati

Forms:
Follow this link to view all the relevant domestic violence forms.


Gender Based Violence Command Centre

The Centre employs 48 Social Work Agents, 8 Social Work Supervisors, 4 Quality Assurers and 1 Centre Manager, to operate and offer services to victims of Gender Based Violence. As support to the GBVCC telephonic trauma counselling, the Department of Social Development has conceived and launched a National Emergency Response Team (NERT) to pilot a national rapid response approach to provision of psychosocial services following incidents of trauma. Provincial DSD takes over after the initial three-day rapid response.
Website: http://gbv.org.za/about-us/


Pamphlets & Other documents:


Contact details:
Chief Directorate: Promotion of the Rights of Vulnerable Groups, Domestic Violence
Adv Mulalo Netshisaulu, Tel No: 012 315 1512, Email: MNetshisaulu@justice.gov.za

Directorate: Gender Issues
Tel: 012 315 1670