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Title: An examination of the attrition of domestic violence cases within the criminal justice system in post-apartheid South Africa.
Author: Artz , Lillian Melinda
ISNI:       0000 0001 3429 9942
Awarding Body: Queen's University of Belfast
Current Institution: Queen's University Belfast
Date of Award: 2008
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Medico-legal research has found that four women are murdered everyday by their intimate partners in South Africa (Mathhews et aI., 2004). At least a third of these women sought assistance from the criminal justice system. Previous research on the implementation of South Africa's Domestic Violence Act [DVA] has found that there are critical attrition points in the criminal justice system where cases of domestic violence simply 'fall out' (Artz & Smythe, 2005a, 2007). Despite reporting incidents to the police and applying for protection orders, a significant proportion (over 50%) of victims do not return to court to have their temporary protection orders finalised by the courts (Artz 1998,2001). Against this background a study was undertaken with MOSAIC, a domestic violence intervention organisation in the Western Cape province of South Africa. The objective of the study was to identify the factors that contribute to domestic violence victims' withdrawal from the legal process before they ·finalise their protection orders. The research was conducted in four magisterial districts, namely, Bellville, Wynberg, Philippi and Khayelitsha. Over a three month period 365 victims of domestic violence were interviewed about their reasons for not returning to court to finalise their protection orders. Using an 'eclectic' theoretical framework, which draws on feminist jurisprudence scholarship and feminist empiricism, this research explores the personal, social and structural barriers that affect women's decisions to proceed with or retract from the criminal justice process. In the analysis of these barriers, it challenges feminist research and criminal justice practice to reconsider the nomenclature of the 'non-cooperative victim'. The transitional context of South Africa is critical to this analysis. It is argued that the construct of the non-cooperative victim both excludes the cumulative impact of victims' interactions with the criminal justice system and perpetuates the myth that women are intentionally and consciously obstructive; conduct which, in terms of research designed to explore 'victim non-cooperation', is enthusiastically scrutinised. It calls for a rigorous examination of 'system uncooperativeness' and highlights the critical failings of the criminal justice system that directly contribute to victim reluctance to proceed with finalising protection orders. Supplied by The British Library - 'The world's knowledge'
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available