Tag Archives: domestic violence

Helping Domestic Violence Survivors Create Financial Security

Abuse_Woman on couch

The economic aspect of domestic violence and abuse is one of its most debilitating components.

Economic abuse can include things like preventing the survivor from accessing bank accounts, destroying their credit and interfering with their employment, making it hard – if not impossible – for survivors to fully recover and build new lives.

Read more here:

Rape Crisis is now on MixIt

Announcement animation

Here is the link to Rape Crisis MixIt application.


Please pass the message on to those who might need this service.

To maintain or not to maintain, that is the question . . .

White Unicorn Animation

Do you live in South Africa? Are you planning or are you in the process of a divorce? Do you know what our law says about maintenance?

Do you know that you can apply for an Interim Maintenance Order while you are waiting for your divorce to be finalized to help with your expenses?

• Encompasses accommodation, food, clothes, medical and dental expenses and other necessities of life on a scale that is in line with the social position, lifestyle and financial resources of the parties. The scope of maintenance is always determined according to the standard of living of the parties concerned. In other words, you should be able to maintain the lifestyle you were accustomed to while you were married – you should not be worse off or better off.
• A child is entitled to reasonable maintenance to provide for his/her needs as in first bullet point above as well as in education and training and, where applicable, even recreation (sports, hobbies etc).
• In the assessment of maintenance for children their needs and the parent’s ability to pay are the primary factors to be considered, but the most important factor is always in the best interests of the child.
• Payments cannot be made directly to the child – it has to be done via the parent who has custody of the child.
• A father who has re-married must adjust his own standard of living rather than allow his children to be prejudiced i.e. he cannot get married again to “spite” his ex-wife or children.
• The Divorce Act provides for maintenance orders as well as to the division of the assets of a marriage. The court will decide how long the Maintenance Order will be in force – for a set period of time or until the death or re-marriage of the party who is to receive the maintenance.
• The means of support includes property that could be used to produce income.
• Duration of the marriage – if the marriage was of short duration, it should not be difficult for both spouses to pick up the threads of their previous lifestyles and means of support. However, if they have been married for a long time, it may be extremely difficult for the wife to become self-supporting because of her age, possible lack of job skills and experience

Before accepting your final Maintenance Order, please ensure provision is made for future earnings on your side. Think about the risk of losing your job (at your age) and the risk involved in getting another job and the risk of getting another job that will pay enough money for you to support your children.

In other words, if you are already struggling on your existing salary. What happens if you lose your job tomorrow? Do you have the necessary skills to get another better paying job? What is the risk of you getting another job at the same salary you are earning now? What is the risk of you never finding employment again due to your age? Your Lawyer must make allowances for all this BEFORE YOU SIGN THE FINAL MAINTENANCE ORDER.

You said he can keep his pension and you can keep yours – don’t be too hasty to say this. Think about your retirement years. How are you going to survive on your pension alone until you die?


• In terms of the Maintenance Act, an order for a lump sum payment of maintenance is possible.

• Rule 43 of the High Court rules provides an inexpensive and speedy remedy where the following are sought:
– Maintenance (pending the Divorce suite) i.e while the Divorce is pending
– A contribution towards costs of a pending matrimonial action

This will require the Applicant to deliver a Sworn Affidavit setting out what is claimed and the grounds for the claim (in your case, you don’t earn enough to cover all the expenses on your existing salary). Use the same form you used to apply for Maintenance to guide you as to how this Affidavit must be structured to strengthen your case.

Grounds for payment – must be based on fact. You cannot thumb suck. Provide copies of receipts/invoices etc if you have them to solidify your case. The objective of these proceedings is to be as inexpensive and as speedy as possible so provide as much information up front as possible so you don’t waste the Court’s time.

The Court will broadly speaking apply the principles relating to the NEED of the parties or of the child (children) concerned, means of the parties and their obligations to support the children or each other. The emphasis falls on a just and speedy decision.

• An Applicant is entitled to reasonable Interim Maintenance but not to luxuries.
• The fees which the Advocate and Attorney may charge are limited by the court rule. Where there is an existing Maintenance Order made by the Maintenance Court an application for Interim Maintenance cannot be brought to the High Court under rule 43.
• Interim Maintenance Orders in the Maintenance Court – A Maintenance Court can grant an Interim Order for maintenance pending a divorce and it can also replace or discharge an Interim Order it has made, or replace or discharge a High Court Order for Interim Maintenance.

Maintenance for children over 18
In terms of our law, a child becomes an adult these days at the age of 18. A lot of people believe that in fact that is when an obligation for maintenance ends.

The Maintenance Act itself does not comment on the duration of this responsibility to support a child and in the circumstances, the answer is found in our common law which provides that a parent has a duty to support the child, until the child becomes self-supporting. This was also confirmed in the 1999 case of Bursey v Bursey & Another in the Appellate Division. A child cannot be self-supporting, if for example, the child is still studying or if for example, the child is handicapped and cannot look after him/herself.
In terms of the new Children’s Act, maintenance is payable until the age of 18 years. Before the new Children’s Act came into effect, maintenance was payable by the parent in respect of the minor child until the minor child was 21 years of age or self-supporting, whichever event should occur first.
Section 305 (4) of the Children’s Act 38 of 2005 provides that “A person who is legally liable to maintain a child is guilty of an offence if that person, while able to do so, fails to provide the child with adequate food, clothing, lodging and medical assistance”. Section 305 (6) provides that a person can be sentenced to imprisonment of 10 years and provides “a person convicted of an offence in terms of subsection (1), (2), (3), (4) or (5) is liable to a fine or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding ten years, or to both a fine and such imprisonment”.

Are you a survivor of domestic violence or gender based violence?


If you are a survivor of domestic violence or gender based violence, we would appreciate you answering the following three questions, please.

The information will be used to prepare a presentation for a Women’s Day afternoon tea for a church group and under no circumstances will your name be mentioned.

Reflecting on your situation you have survived, how would you answer these questions?

1) As a survivor of domestic violence/gender based violence, what are you thankful for?

2) What support would you have liked from your community while you were going through your situation?

3) How important would support from your church have been and what would you have liked your Rector/Pastor to do for you to help you?

Thank you for your willingness to assist us with this information

I Got Flowers Today . . .

Flowers Dazzling Animation

I Got Flowers Today

I got flowers today.
It wasn’t my birthday or any other special day.
We had our first argument last night,
And he said a lot of cruel things that really hurt me.
I know he is sorry and didn’t mean the things he said.
Because he sent me flowers today.

I got flowers today.
It wasn’t our anniversary any other special day.
Last night, he threw me into a wall
and started to choke me.
It seemed like a nightmare.
I couldn’t believe it was real.
I woke up this morning sore and bruised all over.
I know he must be sorry.
Because he sent me flowers today.

I got flowers today,
and it wasn’t Mother’s Day or any other special day.
Last night, he beat me up again.
And it was much worse than all the other times.
If I leave him, what will I do?
How will I take care of my kids?
What about money?
I’m afraid of him and scared to leave.
But I know he must be sorry.
Because he sent me flowers today.

I got flowers today.
Today was a very special day.
It was the day of my funeral.
Last night, he finally killed me.
He beat me to death.
If only I had gathered enough courage and strength to leave him,
I would not have gotten flowers…today.

By Paulette Kelly
© Copyright 1992 Paulette Kelly
All Rights Reserved

Domestic Violence – Enough!


How does domestic violence affect the woman?

How does domestic violence affect children?

Have you watched the movie called “Enough”?

Do yourself a favour and watch this movie – it will change your life.

Have you heard about Beth?


Have you ever considered the effects of abuse on a child? Have you ever thought about what it’s like for them?

To see the effects of abuse on a child, you need to watch this.

This is only part one. Please go on to YouTube to get the rest of the interview.

Do yourself a favour and get the DVD called Child of Rage and see exactly what this child had to endure to understand this interview.

Not for the faint hearted!

Do you know that we also have a Facebook page? Why don’t you “like” our Facebook page and chat to us sometime?

You can find us at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/womendemanddignity/

Gender and Crime

Red Book with Pen

The questions I have been asking are:

1) Are more crimes committed by men than women? If so, why?
2) Are crimes committed by men more violent than those committed by women? Is violent crime gendered? If so, why?
3) How does gender affect specific types of criminality (eg rape, domestic violence, theft)?

Is it just my perception or have females always committed less crime than men? Do gender roles impact on the difference in crime rates between males and females?

Can certain characteristics like aggressiveness, physical strength and competitiveness be closely aligned with masculinity and criminal behaviour?

A few responses to my questions from various sources raised the following issues:

• Traditional female roles have been closely linked to submissiveness, weakness and passivity. This can be seen as contradictory to male behaviour and can also be seen as being incompatible with the qualities required for criminal behaviour, which makes it more difficult for women to gain access to criminal behaviour.

• What about other factors such as opportunity to commit crime, social controls and differential associations – can this be used to explain why females commit less crime than men?

• Do boys have more opportunities than men because they are allowed more autonomy and freedom to make choices for themselves which increases their preference for risk i.e. they are subjected to more informal social control growing up and because women are rejected access to the public sphere more than males?

• What about the fact that girls experience more social control from the family than boys do, and have stronger familial bonds. These familial bonds create stronger informal social controls which decreases the risk to commit crime. Girls are kept busy inside the home ie. They have to help with housework, cooking and taking care of siblings, which leaves them with less time in the day to even think of committing crime.

So, do boys/men commit more crime purely because they have more time available to them and don’t have as many social controls placed on them?

Do men commit crime as a means of constructing their masculinity to express to others and to themselves?
What about women in prostitution – are they there because they choose to be there or because they are compelled by circumstances?

How can we explain why females engage in crime?

• Females have always committed less crime than men – research has shown that gender roles have some impact on the disparity in crime rates between males and females.

• The gender gap is greatest for serious crime and at least for other petty forms of crime

• Several types of crime may lead to females committing crime under the proper circumstances

• Female crime is usually explained in terms of oppression

Gender differences and criminal thinking
Research done to date on gender and criminal thinking errors indicates that there are differences between men and women. As this is a very recent area of research, results are still emerging. This is what we know so far:

1. Risky interpersonal relationships are often connected with criminal behaviour for women. Social relationships shape women’s thinking patterns and influence their behaviour (Havens, et al 2009)

2. Incarcerated women may develop distorted thinking about behaviour that puts them at increased risk for entering risky relationships (Havens, et al 2009)

3. Women tend to have more psychological distress, depression and anxiety when compared with men, as well as self-reported lower self-esteem and lower confidence in decision-making (Staton-Tindall, et al 2007)

4. Co-occuring disorders such as substance abuse and mental health issues are also common for women in the criminal justice system ((Staton-Tindall et al 2007)

5. Females have been shown to score higher than males on problem avoidance on the PICTS (Critical Thinking Test) (Staton-Tindall, et al 2007)

6. Males have been shown to score more highly for cold heartedness than females (Staton-Tindall, et al 2007)
Source: NICRO Participant Manual 2013©: Criminal Behaviour Foundations: Understanding Criminal Thinking

What do you think about all this information? Do share your views/comments. I look forward to hearing what you have to say regarding these questions.

Rape statistics in South Africa – what do you think?

Crying Baby Animation

What do you think of the rape statistics in South Africa?

Can you believe that the latest statistics available in South Africa was compiled in the year 2000?

Rape Stats in SA by Stats SA 2000

Isn’t it just a crying shame?

Domestic Violence – How to evaluate Police Response

Woman stroking cat Animation

How do you evaluate the police response and the police report on your domestic violence call? How do you identify problems with the way the police responded so that you can act quickly to get these problems corrected?

Here are a few questions you could use to provide feedback to your Police station and to your community on how well Police are responding to domestic violence cases.

The Police report is usually the most critical document a survivor will have in determining whether or not she can escape domestic violence. If the Police report is done correctly, it can serve as a solid basis for prosecuting the perpetrator and for providing the authority for putting the perpetrator under control. A good Police report can also resolve problems the survivor may encounter in many other areas, such as family court, or in problems with landlords, school, employment, immigration, etc.

An incomplete or inaccurate report can seriously undermine a survivor’s attempt to end the violence. A bad Police report makes prosecution of the perpetrator very difficult or nearly impossible and the report may be used by the perpetrator against the survivor. It’s always worth your while to make the effort to evaluate Police response and report as soon as possible, and then to seek the needed redress.

Basic elements of good Police response to domestic violence should include information based on the following questions. Please remember you don’t have to answer any question(s) you DON’T WANT TO ANSWER and you don’t have to answer any questions that are not relevant to your particular case. If more than one Officer responded to your call, you can choose to only answer to ONE OFFICER, or you could respond to both, referring to them as Officer number 1 and Officer number 2.

The Interview:
• Did you feel the Officer showed concern for you and your safety?
• Did the Officer make sure that you could tell your story safely and comfortably (by giving you enough time, privacy, encouragement, or whatever else you needed to tell your story)?
• If you do not speak English well, did the Officer provide you with a professional interpreter (either a fully bilingual Officer or a telephone interpreter – not a family member or neighbour)?
• Did the Officer ask you about the history of abuse in the relationship?
• Did the Officer ask you whether the abuser had ever been abusive to the children or pets?
• Did the Officer ask you specific information about any threats made against you?
• Did the Officer ask you if your partner has ever forced you to have sex when you did not want to have sex?

• Did the Officer ask you if the abuser ever used weapons against you?
• Did the Officer ask if the abuser has guns or has access to guns?
• If you told the Officer the abuser has guns, did the Officer remove the guns?

Your injuries and evidence:
• Did the Officer ask about all your injuries?
• Did the Officer take pictures of all your injuries or arrange to have pictures taken?
• Did the Police make arrangements to take another set of pictures of your injuries later?
• Did the Officer collect, or take pictures of, all physical evidence (such as knives, broken furniture, broken telephone lines or telephone instruments, etc)?

• Did the Officer get a statement from each of the children who are old enough to talk?
• If you were present, do you feel the Officer interviewed your children with sensitivity (away from the perpetrator, with age-appropriate questions, at eye level with the children, and with a caring tone, etc)?
• Did the Officer ask you about the possibility of other witnesses?
• Did the Police interview other possible witnesses or make an attempt to interview those witnesses?

• If the abuser was present, did the Officer arrest the abuser?
• If the abuser left the scene, did the Officer ask you for complete information about the possible whereabouts of the abuser?

Protection Orders:
• Did the Officer ask you if you have a Protection Order against the abuser? (A Protection Order could also be called a Restraining Order or Stay Away Order or No Contact Order)
• If you have a Protection Order, did the Officer ask to see the Order?
• If you didn’t have a Protection Order, did the Officer offer you an Emergency (Temporary) Protection Order?
• Did the Officer issue you an Emergency (Temporary) Protection Order?

• Did the Officer give you verbal information on the services available to you?
• Did the Officer give you written information on the services available to you?
• Did the Officer give you the Crime Report Number (Crime Incidence Report number)?
• Did the Officer ask you if you had any questions?
• If you had questions, did the Officer answer your questions to your satisfaction?
• Did the Officer adequately explain to you what will happen next and when it will happen?