n Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology - Policing domestic violence effectively at Rietgat police station : an assessment

Special Edition 2
  • ISSN : 1012-8093



Domestic violence remains a problem for many families in South Africa. The coming into effect of the Domestic Violence Act, 116 of 1998 as well as the introduction of the Domestic Violence National Instruction, 7 of 1999 by the South African Police Service in order to regulate and guide the conduct of its members both shifted mental paradigms in the policing of this crime phenomenon. However there continues to be concern about many aspects when a specific police station is examined against the letter of the national legislation and the aforesaid National Instruction. This article broadly examines the effectiveness of their implementation and the level of awareness amongst police officials in translating domestic violence policy into practice, the quality of their practical interventions when they respond to cases, the organizational approaches to capacity building, the prevention and the investigation of domestic violence. Relying on a sample of forty seven personnel at Rietgat police station, the research was an in-depth quantitative and qualitative analysis of attitudes and processes in policing domestic violence. To ensure the richness of the data, a review of the literature is conducted throughout the article, with four unstructured interviews and an analysis of four domestic violence dockets. One of the overarching findings of the research is that the station does not prioritise domestic violence so that the police could provide service of higher quality to the victims of domestic violence. A number of concrete recommendations are made in the article.

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