Domestic Violence Act – Thumbs Up Or Thumbs Down?
Yesterday was the first day of the CSVR Domestic Violence Act Conference. The conference is held at the Parktonian Hotel in Braamfontein and will continue for the next three days.
According to Adele Kirsten the director of CSVR, the purpose of the conference is to reflect on the past years of the implementation of the DVA by looking at what has worked, what did not and what the way forward is.
When thinking about the way forward, Kirsten said that we should keep in mind that the external climate differs completely from ten years ago.
Througout the day, various speakers gave presentations around the following two themes: Domestic violence legislation and policies and Services for women in domestic violence situations.
In study her research, Lisa Vetten from Tswaranang Legal Advocacy Centre indicated that women who apply for protection orders are mostly those that are employed. This morning, Dr Lillian Artz indicated in her study that most women who apply for protection orders do not go back to finalise them.
Dr Artz also said that it is often argued that men who apply for protection orders are often not spoken about. However, her study showed that from the 14% of men who apply for protection orders, 11% do so because their partners have some against them.
Yesterday in the oppening speech, Bafana Khumalo from the Commission on Gender Equality stressed the need of having of having social intervention strategies that included involving or working with men in fight against VAW. He also said that earlier interventions are needed where by education and awareness is created for young boys.
The speakers that have spoken so far did not mention anything about the effectiveness of the act. My biggest concern at the stage is the research results that show that employed women are the ones that apply for protection orders. The thought that these unemployed ones have to deal with the poverty and their perpetrators get away with the assault is really painful. Basically, if you are not empowered, it is unlikely that your assualter will be acquitted.
Like Joy Watson a gender researcher with the South African parliament said: "The state has failed women".