Domestic violence policing inadequate - expert

2014-02-08 09:05
(Nielen de Klerk, News24)

(Nielen de Klerk, News24)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Cape Town - Police officers are not properly implementing the Domestic Violence Act in Khayelitsha, Cape Town, an expert told a commission of inquiry on Friday.

Professor Lillian Artz, a director of the University of Cape Town's gender, health and justice research unit, testified at the Khayelitsha Commission of Inquiry on the police's response to domestic violence and sexual crimes.

She said her research findings were that officers from the various police stations in Khayelitsha were not properly trained in the minimum requirements of dealing with domestic violence according to SA Police Service national instructions.

The first requirement was that a police vehicle be dispatched to the scene without delay.

The second was that the crew of that vehicle be informed of who the complainant was and whether to expect violence.

She said domestic violence only became criminalised when a protection order had been breached, but many people never even followed through with finalising such an order.

‘Untenable situation’

She had conducted research on domestic violence protection order applicants in association with charity organisation Mosaic, which assists the justice department.

Less than 10% of Khayelitsha applicants who were assisted by Mosaic found the police to be helpful and most gave them a score of five out of a possible 10.

"In only 19% of cases were complainants told they could lay a criminal charge at the police station."

Artz said that when the protection order had to be served, many provincial officers misread the Domestic Violence Act and would only serve on the respondent.

The act allowed that any person over the age of 16 could be given an order on behalf of the respondent, she said.

It was, however, not uncommon for the order to be served on the very person who had laid the complaint.

"In practice, the applicant is often the one who is in the house when the protection order is served, who then has to serve it on the respondent. It's just an untenable situation."

‘Mob justice’

She acknowledged systemic failures that prevented officers from fulfilling their duties, including a lack of airtime for cellphones, a lack of police vehicles and reported pressure to keep crime statistics low.

Artz concluded that there had to be a practical, strategic priority for domestic and sexual offences in Khayelitsha.

The commission was set up by Western Cape premier Helen Zille to probe accusations by civil society formations that police inaction was leading to an increase in "mob justice" killings in the area.

The Social Justice Coalition alleged that police inefficiency was leading to criminals running rampant in the sprawling township, and residents being forced to take the law into their own hands.

The commission's activities were delayed for some time when Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa tried to have the inquiry scrapped.

Mthethwa lost his legal bid to stop the commission in the Constitutional Court in October last year.

The first phase of hearings was expected to end on 21 February.

Read more on:    nathi mtethwa  |  helen zille  |  cape town  |  domestic violence

Lightning kills baby, woman

2014-12-21 10:38

Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Inside News24


Joburg hot spots for cocktails, craft beer, tapas and wine!

It’s the season to be jolly – so we’ve rounded up some new Joburg hot spots!


I love summer.24

Summer Survey!
Great ideas for the best summer sandwiches!
Christmas lingerie to make this festive season the best one ever!
13 things you might not know about Disneyland

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]


Houses R 2 690 000


Houses R 2 680 000

Travel - Look, Book, Go! - shop online today

2DAYS ONLY – 30% off Appliances

Coffee makers, blenders, fans, juicers and more. T&Cs apply. Shop now!

2 DAYS ONLY – 40% off books

Get 40% off when you buy 2 books. For two days only! T&Cs apply. Buy now!

Up to 50% off on outdoor gear

Save on chairs, blankets, cooler bags, umbrellas and more. Shop now!

Save on Samsung

Cameras, mobile phones, TVs, Tablets and more. While stocks last. Shop now!

Grand Theft Auto 5

Now available on PS4, Xbox One and PC from R649. Buy now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25


At last you are able to see the light. You are able to break through obstacles in an innovative and original way. Visualisation more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.