The South African Law Reform Commission (SALRC)[i] is presently considering submissions as to whether or not certain acts of domestic violence should be criminal offences. Domestic violence compromises the dignity, safety, physical integrity and mental health of the victim. It has physical, sexual, emotional, psychological and economic consequences, and it is compounded by gender inequality, poverty, and the abuse of alcohol or other addictive substances. Moreover, witnessing family violence as a child is a predictive factor of future abusive behaviour.[ii]
[i] The role of the South African Law Reform Commission is to do research with reference to all branches of the law in order to make recommendations to government for the development, improvement, modernisation or reform of the law.
[ii] A recent study by Gender Links found that that the proportion of men who admitted to committing some form of violence against women in their lifetime was high: 78% in Gauteng; 48% in Limpopo; 41% in Kwa-Zulu Natal; and 35% in the Western Cape. Reported in ‘Abuse Rooted in Patriarchy’, Business Day 9th August 2019 BP544 The Criminal Law and Perpetrators of Domestic Violence by Lois Law