Gender and Behaviour

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An analysis of the efficacy of the mechanisms for the protection of minor children against domestic violence in South Africa and Zimbabwe

Kugara Stewart Lee, Tsetselelani Decide Mdhluli, P Matshidze


This study sought to examine the efficacy of the measures put in place to cater for minor children against domestic violence. Domestic violence is a menace which has plagued many countries. It has the capacity to inflict insurmountable pain if it goes unabated. Minor children, in particular, have become increasingly vulnerable to domestic violence due to the fact that they are weak and depend mainly on adults. Having identified children as a major target of domestic abuse, the study examined the thorny issue of access to justice for minors who are victims of domestic violence in selected areas in South Africa and Zimbabwe respectively. The selected areas for the study were Vhembe district in Limpopo, South Africa, and Masvingo in Zimbabwe. The study was founded on the socio-cultural theory and Human Rights Based Approach to attain its findings. The study utilised the qualitative research design. Data collection methods included secondary sources, focus group discussions and face-to-face interviews. The study informants (victims, social workers, family advocates, family and community members) were selected using purposeful sampling technique and snow-balling sampling. The study has however noted that the process of obtaining protection orders is often tedious, confusing and costly. As such, it was apparent that the process was often very frustrating for the victims. The researcher recommends an effective monitoring and evaluation of legislative framework and policy as well as funding for resources to protect the best interest of minor children.

Keywords: Access to Justice, Criminal Justice System, Domestic Violence, Efficacy, Gender-Based Violence, Minor, Victim, Vulnerability

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