South African Crime Quarterly

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Policing the private Social barriers to the effective policing of domestic violence

Heidi Mogstad, Dominique Dryding, Olivia Fiorotto


The limited ability of police to assist victims of domestic violence is often viewed as an institutional failure; a consequence of a lack of resources or inadequate training. This article presents key findings from a qualitative study of perceptions of and attitudes towards domestic violence in the South African township of Khayelitsha that highlight the complexity of responding to this form of violence. The research found that prevailing social norms and beliefs in Khayelitsha prevent domestic violence victims from seeking help from the police and that, unless there is a change in social norms, it is unlikely that there will be an increase in the reporting of cases of domestic violence.
AJOL African Journals Online