Action Society actively supports the review of the Domestic Violence Act of 1998. A review of the Act is a step in the direction in the fight against Gender-Based Violence (GBV). In the quest to advocate for public participation, Action Society encourages citizens to respond and let their voices be heard.
On Wednesday, 8th December 2021 the “Issue Paper on Domestic Violence: The Criminal Law Response for publication” was approved by the South African Law Reform Commission. “Issue Paper 42 Project 100: Domestic violence: The criminal law response”, is aimed to serve as a platform for discussion by the South African Law Reform Commission. The commission looks to review violence within domestic relationships.
“The Domestic Violence Act of 1998 limits the crimes committed by perpetrators. These crimes relate to physical abuse; emotional, verbal and psychological abuse; economic abuse; intimidation; damage to property; and the catch all phrase of “any other controlling or abusive behaviour towards a complainant. We would like to actively encourage South Africans to participate in this process ̶ it is our duty to assist in making our country a safer place for the most vulnerable amongst us, we need to be a voice for the voiceless,” commented Kelly Baloyi, spokesperson for Action Society.
The increase in domestic violence cases in South Africa is alarming. In the context of the Covid-19 pandemic, President Cyril Ramaphosa refers to domestic violence as the second pandemic. In November 2020, to mark the start of the 16 Days of Activism campaign, President Ramaphosa said: “In a country with the most progressive of constitutions, which promises equality and dignity for all, the women and children of South Africa live in fear of violence every day”.
Survivors of gender-based violence, the LGBTQIA+ community, men’s groups, faith-based groups and student organisations shared gruesome testimonies of how they have survived.
“This is a clear indication that public participation in reviewing the Domestic Violence Act of 1998 is crucial in helping to address domestic violence atrocities” Baloyi continues.
The commission requests public participation and comment of any person on any issue within the issue paper. This is to encourage debate and inclusivity from the public. Respondents are requested to submit written comments or representations on the issue paper to the Commission by no later than 28 February 2022.
Baloyi concludes: “Action Society encourages the public to exercise their democratic right and voice their opinion in the debate towards the end of GBV. We believe that GBV is becoming a human rights violation and the fight against this scourge starts with ordinary South Africans dominating debates of this nature and influencing policy and law reform as much as possible.”
For more details and to participate in this process please view the official document here: https://static.pmg.org.za/20211210-ms-ip42-prj100-DomesticViolence.pdf