n South African Journal of Criminal Justice - Maximum includes financial - even in cases of domestic violence




'It is the Intent of this Act to afford victims of domestic violence the maximum protection from abuse the law can provide'. The Domestic Violence Act 116 of 1998 (the DVA) opens with this statement, but it seems to be far from the starting point that magistrates use when applying the DVA. Magistrates report that they treat interdicts for emergency monetary relief with more caution and rarely compensate for economic abuse. This hesitancy is troubling. Using text and legislative history of the DVA, this article asserts that the economic provisions are central to the purpose for which the DVA was enacted. By not implementing them, magistrates are misapplying the DVA and failing in their constitutional duty to deal effectively with domestic violence. Furthermore, this misapplication is unnecessary. Magistrates can implement the DVA to its fullest measure despite the flaws in the judicial system, and this article concludes with suggestions as to how this can be done.


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