Awareness about domestic violence
What is domestic violence?
Domestic Violence can be defined as physical, sexual, emotional, verbal, psychological and economic
abuse. It included intimidation, harassment, stalking, damage of property, entry into the complainant’s
residence without permission in case parties do not share the same residence and any other controlling
or abusive behavior towards a complainant (Domestic Violence Act no.116 of 1998).
Did you know?
- Intimate Partner Violence is one of the forms of domestic violence against women that is
perpetrated by male intimate partners.
- Intimate Partner Violence constitutes include physical abuse (e.g. slapping, hitting, kicking,
beating), psychological abuse (e.g. intimidation, humiliation), sexual abuse (e.g. sexual coercion,
forced intercourse) or other controlling behaviors (e.g. isolating a partner from family and
friends, restricted access to financial resources).
Effects of domestic violence
Impact on the family
- It negatively impacts on the family through divorce which leads to family disintegration,
misunderstandings and disordered relations between the husband and the wife's family.
- It also affects a woman’s ability to care for self and family, leads to reduced productivity as well
as participation in social and community activities .
Impact on health and health care system
- Violence against women is recognized as a key public health problem and a major health risk
for women worldwide.
- DV is not only known to be one of a leading cause of injury among women and it also leads to disability such as permanent disfigurement or damage to hearing and vision, bruising of the face and body, fractures, internal injuries.
- DV affects maternal health significantly through minimizing access to medical care, leads to a range of reproductive health outcomes such as poor outcomes of pregnancy, birth and gynecological morbidity. Reproductive health outcomes include non-use of contraception prematurity of the new-born baby and increased risk of induced abortion.
- DV affects HIV prevention, care and treatment programmes, such as increased victim exposure to abuse increases the risk for Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) and Human Immune Virus (HIV). This is attributed to the perpetrator’s unwillingness to use protection or from the victim’s need to please the perpetrator.
Psychological effects of domestic violence
- Abused women are more susceptible to mental health symptoms that may include depression, anxiety and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
- Women who have experienced emotional abuse manifest with symptoms like diminished self-esteem , fear, loss of identity, despair, guilt and confusion.
- DV is also linked to substance abuse patterns as victims often turn to substances or heavy drinking as a way of coping with abuse and escaping from the harsh reality of partner violence.
- DV may also be fatal as it is associated with suicide and self- harm.
Where to get help
- SAPS Crime Stop
- Gender-Based Violence Command Centre
0800 428428/0800 GBV
- STOP Gender Violence Helpline
0800 150 150/ *120*7867# from any cell phone
- Childline- Report child abuse
0800 055 555
- Family and Marriage Society of South Africa – Advice on family relationships
011 975 7107
- Thuthuzela Care Centres
- UNHCR HELPLINE
0800 1000 30
- SASSA- Grants enquiries
0800 60 10 11 or CPS 0800 60 01 60
021 637 918 1
- Legal Aid
0800 1110 110 or UCT legal clinic for refugees 021 6503775
- Alcoholics Anonymous SA
0861 435 722 Substance Abuse Helpline 0800 121 314
- Mental Health Information Line
0800 567 567
- AIDS Helpline
0800 012 322 / 011 725 6710
- National Crisis Line- Counselling Service
086 132 2322