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Domestic Violence Amendment Bill Tabled

September 9, 2020

Department of Justice and Constitutional Development

The Domestic Violence Amendment Bill has been tabled in parliament.

The justice and constitutional development department called for comment on the bill in March 2020.

The bill aims to amend the Domestic Violence Act, 1998, so as to:

• amend and insert certain definitions;
• further provide for the manner in which acts of domestic violence and matters related thereto, must be dealt with by certain functionaries, persons and Government departments;
• further regulate obtaining of protection orders in response to acts of domestic violence;
• delete and amend provisions of certain laws; and
• provide for matters connected therewith.

According to the bill’s memorandum, it seeks to amend the act in order to address practical challenges, gaps and anomalies that have manifested since the act was put into operation in 1999.

The amendments also seek to enhance the application of the act in order to protect victims of gender-based violence and other vulnerable persons against domestic violence.

Amendments also aim to align the act with the Protection from Harassment Act of 2011.

The bill’s explanatory summary was published in Government Gazette 43595 on 7 August 2020.

Cabinet approved the bill at the beginning of August 2020 for tabling in parliament.

According to the cabinet statement, the proposed legislation facilitates the obtaining of protection orders against acts of domestic violence via electronic means.

It also obliges the social development and health departments to “provide certain services to victims of domestic violence and aligns the provisions of the Domestic Violence Act, 1998 (Act 116 of 1998) with the provisions of the Protection from Harassment Act, 2011 (Act 17 of 2011)”.

The portfolio committee on justice and correctional services will process the bill.