Aluta continua: Accountability and the Domestic Violence Act, 116 of 1998

Lisa Vetten

Abstract


In 1998, in an attempt to undo the long-standing neglect of domestic violence,  legislators placed a set of duties on the police in relation to domestic violence and coupled these with a unique system of accountability relations and practices. This articles examines the effect of these in three ways:review both of complaints of misconduct, as well as the station audits conducted in terms of the Domestic Violence Act's prescripts, and analysis of the workings of the Act's accountability mechanisms over time. This shows the Act's system of accountability to have had some success in making domestic violence a policing priority. But this has taken a number of years of interaction across the domains of the political, legal, bureaucratic and the social to accomplish. On this account accountability reveals itself to be a contingent outcome and practice that also takes different forms at different times. It also remains an ambivalent undertaking in relation to domestic violence. While answers may be demanded of the police, oversight of these responses is lodged with an agency possessing limited capacity and weak institutional authority.


Keywords


Domestic Violence Act; police accountability; domestic violence; Independent Complaints Directorate; Civilian Secretariat for Police

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.17159/2413-3108/2017/v0n59a2231

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