Critically evaluating the machinery of the Domestic Violence Act 116 of 1998 for combating domestic violence in South Africa.
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There is an international law duty on South Africa in terms of the Convention on the Elimination of Violence Against Women (CEDAW) and the Convention on the Elimination of Violence Against Woman (CEVAW). Section 12 (1) (c) of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996 guarantees a right to be free from violence either from a public source or a private source. South Africa ranks amongst the most dangerous countries in the world. It is submitted that intimate partner violence is at its peak. Domestic violence is a direct violation of various other rights including the right to life, equality, human dignity, privacy, labour and housing. The Domestic Violence Act 116 of 1998 (the DVA) was passed as a means to combat domestic violence primarily by issuing protection orders to victims of domestic violence. This dissertation affirms that the protection order is the core machinery in the DVA for combating domestic violence. However it is further submitted that there are other machineries within the DVA that may equally be effective. It is trite that domestic violence still rears its ugly head. There are various causes for this. On one hand, some argue that the machineries are ineffective, and on the other hand, some argue that they are not being properly implemented. Therefore, the purpose of this dissertation is to set out the core machinery for combating domestic violence and then to critically examine the advances made in the implementation of the same machinery, focussing primarily on the criminal justice system and the challenges they face while implementing the DVA and providing possible solutions.