On April 14, South Africa’s new Domestic Violence Act came into effect, providing stronger protections for children exposed to domestic violence. The Act alters the way that cases involving children exposed to domestic violence are handled in SA’s legal system. Furthermore, the Act expands the definition of domestic abuse, which now encompasses acts such as economic abuse and elder abuse.
Under the new Act, exposing a child to domestic violence is defined as intentionally causing a child to see or hear domestic violence or experience its effects. The legislation also mandates that any adult who knows, believes, or suspects that an act of domestic violence has occurred against a child, persons with disability, or elderly persons must report this to a social worker or the South African Police Service as soon as possible.
The Act now covers various forms of abuse, including invisible forms such as technology-based abuse and controlling behaviour. With the scourge of domestic violence recorded in the country in recent times and the ever-evolving technological landscape, the Act offers children increased protection. By extending the definition of domestic abuse, the Act also provides added protection for the elderly. A move welcomed by SA citizens.
To access the new Act, or for easy search and retrieval of associated Acts, visit discover.sabinet.co.za.
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