South African law recognises domestic violence as a “serious social evil” that unfortunately has a high incidence within our society. Affecting the most vulnerable members, it is often not reported to the authorities.

Regulated by the Domestic Violence Act 116/1998 and the Protection from Harassment Act, the law aims to afford domestic violence victims the maximum protection that it can provide.

What is domestic violence or abuse?

Within a relationship – it doesn’t matter if you stay together or apart, are married or unmarried – if one partner harms the other in order to obtain or maintain control and power over them, that can be defined as domestic violence.

Both men and women can be guilty of, and be victims of, domestic violence.

Types of domestic violence or abuse

There are many different types of abuse that can occur within a relationship. Some of the types of abuse are as follows:

  • Physical abuse
  • Emotional, verbal and psychological abuse
  • Economic abuse
  • Sexual abuse
  • Damage to property
  • Harassment
  • Stalking
  • Intimidation

What to do if you are a victim of domestic abuse

If you find yourself in this situation, contact an attorney in order to obtain a Protection Order, which is also known as a Domestic Violence Interdict. This is a court order that tells an abuser to stop the abuse and sets out certain conditions that prevents an abuser from harassing or abusing the victim.

Contact our Family Law team

Our Family Law attorneys are compassionate and friendly, and are well experienced in assisting victims of domestic violence, getting them the legal help they need to stop the abuse.

For legal advice regarding Family Law, Divorce and Matrimonial Law

Juan Smuts        

Wesley Scheepers



The articles on these web pages are provided for general information purposes only. Whilst care has been taken to ensure accuracy, the content provided is not intended to stand alone as legal advice. Always consult a suitably qualified attorney on any specific legal problem or matter.