THE PREAMBLE TO THE DOMESTIC VIOLENCE ACT 116 OF 1998
"RECOGNISING that domestic violence is a serious social evil; that there is a high incidence of domestic violence within South African society; that victims of domestic violence are amongst the most vulnerable members of society; that domestic violence takes on many forms; that acts of domestic violence may be committed in a wide range of domestic relationships; and that the remedies currently available to the victims of domestic violence have proved to be ineffective..."
For many abused women, the road is long and difficult, and the decision and fear to leave the relationship and take shelter in itself is a major one.
THE ACT DEFINES:
"Domestic Violence" as
"physical abuse; sexual abuse; emotional, verbal and psychological abuse; economic abuse; intimidation; harassment; stalking; damage to property; entry into the complainant's residence without consent, where the parties do not share the same residence; or any other controlling or abusive behaviour towards a complainant, where such conduct harms, or may cause imminent harm to the safety, health or well-being of the complainant."
"Domestic Relationship" as
"a relationship betwen a complainant and a respondent in any of the following ways: they are or were married to each other, including marriage according to any law, custom or religion; they (where they are of the same or opposite sex) live or lived together with in relationship in the nature of marriage, although they are not, or were not, married to each other, or are not able to be married to each other; they are parents of a child or are persons who have or had parental responsibility for that child (whether or not at the same time); they are family members related by consanguinity, affinity or adoption; they are or were in an engagement, dating or customary relationship, including an actual or perceived romantic intimate or sexual relationship of any duration; or they share or recently shared the same residence."
For information on Domestic Violence situations, visit the websites: