The WHO Landmark Study on Domestic Violence

The first-ever World Health Organization (WHO) study on domestic violence reveals that intimate partner violence is the most common form of violence in women’s lives - much more so than assault or rape by strangers or acquaintances. The study reports on the enormous toll physical and sexual violence by husbands and partners has on the health and well-being of women around the world and the extent to which partner violence is still largely hidden.

Resource web page: WHO Study on Domestic Violence


Guidelines for the Implementation

These guidelines are intended to assist and guide magistrates in implementing the Domestic Violence Act in any way that ensures both legal consistency and legal uniformity. The guidelines do not attempt, in any way, to limit judicial independence or discretion and should be read with the legal obligations on magistrates prescribed by the Act itself.


Judicialising and (de) Criminalising Domestic Violence

This article analyses the specific ways in which Latin American countries have judicialised
domestic violence over the last decade. In particular, it highlights the new definitions of
spousal abuse and procedures adopted in both criminal and non-criminal courts. The
region has seen two countervailing tendencies, the first to criminalise, through penal code
definitions and higher penalties, the second to divert this offence into legal arenas that
tend, either implicitly or explicitly, towards effective decriminalisation and downgrading of this form of social violence due to their emphasis on conciliation and transactional procedures.

Resource document: Domestic violence criminalisation in LA.pdf


Lodging a Complaint Against the Police: the ICD

From the Independent Complaints Directorate (ICD) this document explains how to go about lodging a complain against police officers.

Resource web page: The ICD


Making it through the Criminal Justice System: Attrition and Domestic Violence

This article explores the process of attrition, where domestic violence cases fail to make it through the criminal justice system and do not result in criminal conviction. The article draws on the hitherto most detailed study of such attrition in the UK.1 The research, carried out across the Northumbria Police Force area, explored the quantitative attrition of domestic violence cases, from reporting to the police to final court outcome, contextualising this via the experiences of individuals (mainly women) victimised by
domestic violence as well as the perspectives and practices of the police, prosecutors, the
courts and non-criminal justice agencies.

Resource document: making it through the criminal justice system.pdf


Should We Consent? Rape Law Reform in South Africa

South Africa has one of the highest levels of reported rape in the world, and legislative reform was seen as an essential step towards shifting the understanding of rape and its treatment within the criminal justice system. Since 1996 the activism has focused on the South African Law Reform Commission's investigation into sexual offences, and the parliamentary process, which culminated at the end of 2007 in the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Act.

Drawing on a body of empirical, social and legal scholarship, this unique text charts the critical social and legal debates and jurisprudential developments that took place during the rape law reform process. This book also provides important insights into the engagement of civil society with law reform and includes thoughtful and contemporary discussions on topics such as 'defining' rape, HIV, sexual offences against children and sentencing of sexual offenders.

The authors, many of whom were involved in substantive legal submissions, research and legislative drafting and promoting changes to the law, include:

* Lillian Artz * Sarai Chisala * Heléne Combrinck * Jacqui Gallinetti * Yonina Hoffman-Wanderer * Daksha Kassan * Anastasia Maw * Stefanie Roehrs * Nikki Naylor * Michelle O'Sullivan * Bronwyn Pithey * PJ Schwikkard * Dee Smythe * Samantha Waterhouse * Gail Womersley

Contents include
* South Africa's rape law reform in an international context
* Defining rape
* Issues of consent
* Harmful HIV-related conduct
* HIV services for victims
* Revision of evidence rules: caution, corroboration & delays
* Disclosure of rape complainants personal records
* Victims rights in the new Sexual Offences Act
* Psycho-social impact of rape and its implications for expert evidence in rape trials
* Special issues relating to the youthfulness of victims and offenders
* The politics of sexuality
* Vulnerable witnesses and protective measures
* Policing sexual offences
* Sentencing & supervision
* Managing rape case attrition

Of Interest and benefit to
* Teachers and researchers of law and policy, gender and public policy, women's studies, and criminal justice practice in South Africa and in comparative jurisdictions, such as the United States, United Kingdom and other Commonwealth countries
* Judges and magistrates
* Legal practitioners seeking to come to grips with the new sexual offences act and its background
* 'Violence against women and children' NGOs
* Law libraries
* Activists working to reform local laws relating to sexual offences in comparative jurisdictions

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Fax: +27(0) 21 761 5861
Tel: +27(0) 21 763 3600

Resource web page:


South African Police and Domestic Violence : The New Approach

This document is sources from the South African Police Service website, and details the 'new approach' to domestic violence. It includes definitions of domestic violence, police officer duties and powers with regard to crimes relating to domestic violence

Resource web page: SAPS: The New Approach


The price of protection: Costing the implementation of the Domestic Violence Act (no. 116 of 1998)

Between February and May 2005 we conducted 60 interviews with criminal justice system employees at nine courts and nine police stations distributed across the three provinces of Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and Free State. Courts were selected on the basis of rankings provided by the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development and represent a mix of well-functioning, average, and under-functioning courts, as well as urban or rural location. Police stations closest to the designated courts were chosen for the study.

Resource document: DOJCD Dom Violence.pdf


Violence against Women in South Africa - A Resource for Journalists

This publication aims to help journalists and newsroom decision-makers improve and increase their reporting on issues related to violence against women. It provides facts, figures and information on violence against women, identifies pitfalls in current coverage, and provides guidelines to help improve coverage.

Resource document: Violence Against Women In South Africa A Resource For Journalists.pdf