How Should Police Respond to Domestic Violence?
The Police have a number of responsibilities to adhere to when assisting a victim of domestic violence.
How should police respond to domestic violence?
These include the following:
- On receiving the complaint, the SAPS member must ensure that he/she obtains sufficient information concerning the incident.
- Without any unreasonable delay, ensure that a police vehicle is dispatched to attend to the complaint.
- The member must inform the complaint of his/ her rights and the available remedies. In doing this the member must hand the complaint with the copy of a Notice and explain it in the language he/she understands.
- If a complaint wants to lay a criminal charge, the SAPS member must open a docket and register it for investigation. The member may not refuse to do so.
- The SAPS member should inform the complainant of how to apply for a Protection Order should he/she choose to do so.
- The SAPS member must assist the complaint to obtain medical treatment and suitable shelter.
- If there were any firearms or dangerous weapons used, these must be seized and be retained in the police custody. If the respondent has a firearm, even if not used during the incident, the complainant must obtain a court order for its removal should they fear that it may cause harm to them.
- Police may arrest a respondent if he/she contravenes the protection order and it is believed that they harm the complainant.
- The SAPS member may accompany the complainant to collect his/her personal belongings.
- On receipt of the Interim of Final Protection Order, the member must serve it without delay as it only becomes binding to the respondent once it is served to him/her.
Role of the Civilian Secretariat for Police
The Civilian Secretariat is mandated to, (among other responsibilities) monitor and evaluate compliance with the DVA by the SAPS and to recommend steps for improved service delivery.
Should the complainant not be happy or satisfied with the service provided by the SAPS in response to a reported domestic violence incident, they can lay a formal complaint with the Provincial Secretariat in the following office:
Provincial Secretariat office: Western Cape Department of Community Safety
Tel: 021 483 4332
Fax: 021 483 6026
or SMS the word “report” to 35395