Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 10 credits / 15 HE credits
The purpose of this research is to produce a deeper understanding of the role of
the police authorities in their adherence to the new constitution and laws that are
supposed to protect women, especially those affected by domestic violence. In order to
do that, this research focuses on the implementation of the Domestic Violence Act of
1998 (DVA) by the police authorities in South Africa. I look into what factors influence
their attitudes towards and reactions to victims of domestic violence. I use a triangulation
of resources including case reports of domestic violence from court, online media
articles, research reports on domestic violence, police performance reports and other
governmental documents, as well as NGO reports of victims and police implementation
including an interview with someone who worked with women in South Africa.
I analyze my results using the three pillars of new institutionalism: regulative,
normative, and cultural-cognitive. This theory is useful in breaking down the issue to get
a deeper understanding on different levels. Each pillar explains the rules and legally
sanctioned acts, norms and values, and cultural assumptions behind the attitudes and
actions of the police when involved in domestic violence cases. This helps to see the
problem in different perspectives and explain how the police may play a role in
perpetuating domestic violence in South Africa.
Through my study on media articles, case reports, and NGO reports on the actions
of police, I found that the police do play a role in perpetuating domestic violence in South
Africa, though there are many factors that are involved. The norms of society itself show
that domestic violence is a private matter and should be kept within the home. The
gender power inequalities and social problems in South Africa are also actors in keeping
domestic violence such a problem. The government itself has not provided adequate
resources and training to properly implement the Domestic Violence Act. So, while the
police definitely plays a role in this problem and need to be better trained and more
compliant with the DVA and its provisions, there are many factors to consider that also
add to this epidemic.
2012. , 65 p.