Statistics on Domestic Violence in South Africa


domestic-violence-hurts-everyoneIt is difficult to get reliable statistics on violence against women in South Africa. Although the number of reported cases is very high, many cases go unreported. The incidence of battery or domestic violence is particularly hard to measure because the police do not keep separate statistics on assault cases perpetrated by husbands or boyfriends.

Many women are still unaware of their rights when reporting abuse and even informed women traumatized by an assault are unlikely to be assertive and insist on their rights. Many women are afraid of further violence from the perpetrator if they attempt legal action. This is even more compounded by the introduction of the new Domestic Violence Act, which a lot of women have not yet grasped. The challenge exists for the Act, including the regulations to be made an accessible form of legislation to benefit and protect women in all areas of their lives. Effective implementation of the Act also needs to be ensured, for effective legal preventative measures (protection order) and police escorts to abused women.

The gendered nature of domestic violence has unfortunately also seen an increase in the number of women being murdered by their intimate male partners. Lack of statistical information on this form of killing makes it very hard to measure the extent of the scourge but newspaper reports on this issue, leave little to one’s imagination. These killings demonstrate the culture of male violence against women and sexism that still pervades our society. Women have fought and succeeded in getting many basic rights yet in the private sphere of their homes, the inequality between men and women is still a battleground.

The Department of Justice estimates that 1 out of every four South African women are survivors of domestic violence. (450.311 Domestic Violence: Submission to the South African Law Commission in the Light of International and Constitutional Human Rights Jurisprudence Part 1, May 1997)

According to POWA 1 in every 6 women who die in Gauteng are killed by an intimate partner.

The Institute of Security Studies did a research project in 1999. They found that:

90% of the women interviewed had experienced emotional abuse: being humiliated in front of others was most commonly reported.

90% had also experienced physical abuse: being pushed or shoved and being slapped or hit were highlighted.

71% had experienced sexual abuse: attempts to kiss or touch followed by forced sexual intercourse occurred most often.

58% experienced economic abuse: money taken without consent was most common.

42.5% of women had experienced all forms of abuse.

60% of all cases of abuse were committed by partners, lovers or spouses.

-Emotional abuse-either as a category on its own or in combination with other types of abuse was referred to by 63% of women as being the most serious.

-According to a Medical Research Council study, young women are more subjected to assault (ranging from slapping to beating with objects and stabbing) and sexual coercion by partners and others.

All the above information is taken from POWA.

More statistics on Domestic Violence in South Africa and internationally are available from the Womens Net website on:



  1. My sister is married to a violent husband, as i speak she is nursing a blue eye she has made police reports before but no action has been taken or maybe the husband is a friend to the police or pays bribes to clear the case.

    Please assist

    • Dear Zandile, sorry for the delay in responding to your inquiry. Somehow it got jammed with some other comments. Unfortunately this is the common response when cases are reported to certain police stations therefore there are organizations that help the victim to go about the correct procedures to avoid the perpetrator to revenge when he is reported. I do not know which are you write me from but for reference sakes you can try to establish contact to POWA – PEOPLE OPPOSING AGAINST WOMEN ABUSE (0837651235). They have several offices in Gauteng and partnership with other associations in some of the provinces as the Rape Crisis Unit in Cape Town 021 447 9762 and WAMACA Tel: (011) 789-8815 to assist in safeguarding children’s rights. It is very important to take the necessary steps to guarantee safety to your sister and her children.

  2. I am writing an essay on Women’s rights and violence against women. This has not only been helpful, but shows how many people disregard the importance women hold. We are part of the key ingredients to survival, so why do men feel that it is okay to abuse us? We are just as powerful as men and those who are in those types of situations need to be able to stand up for themselves. To understand that it isn’t normal and that if something isn’t being done for themselves, they need to be able to do something about it. To stand up for what is right and what is fair. There are plenty famous women in history, such as Anne Frank and Marie Curie, who have done remarkable things! Who knows who the next remarkable person is! So to suppress woman is to deny our world of hope and possibility!

  3. hi there, i would like to know, my sister is in relationship where the guys beats her up and she thinks its normal. she has black eyes, she told us she and a frien had been assulted, we spoke to the friend and she advised that she was not even with my sister. he one time did hit her with a broom stick, she still is with him. “because she loves him”. he does this behind closed doors “like a coward” that he is. how can i help her, she is the most loving person i know she always cares for people that have nothing, she will give her last money to them for food. please help me help her. she deserves better that to be beaten up. help, help, help me please, before i loose my sister.

    helpless port elizabeth.

  4. I need latest domestic violence statistics and it difficult to get them. I need help please.

  5. PRECIOUS on

    II am 28 years old, my boyfriend of 11 years drinks a lot, when he is drunk he beats me up and stab me . This has been going on for years. We have 2 kids together and I am the only providing for them because he spends all his money drinking. I tried reporting him to police but they told me they can’t help me since there were no visible scares in my face. So I have run out of options I am afraid he will kill me one day because he says that all the time when we fight. What can I do please help

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  7. Need help! I’m in a relationship (not married) for 21years, the man abuses me in every form he can because he says that his money can get him out of anything! I’m afraid that after I left him 3 months ago he is still in contact with me and still manupulate me with his money just so I think he wants me to withdraw the interdic I have agains him! I’ve got no income and nothing to help me find a job, all this happend over 21 years and last year I found out that I’ve got breast cancer and had to undergo treatment! While I was on treatment he threw me out of his house! Now I’m homeless, jobless, and he still controls me

  8. Ja sory to all sufering from this, thing called domestic violence, all I have to say is blame it on the government who created this domestic violence, it will definitely disappear when they wakeup one day to realize they must remove liquor out of the community’s, that is dangerous to sosiety ,the causes of liquor, domestic violence,drunknes, murder, rape, robbery, assult+grievance harme, drunk and driving, so much more? The question will they ever do so by taking liquor out of sosiety, no government are benefiting out of liquor sales and the expensive court cases, feeling nothing for sosiety, how do I know this I work with the problem that is created, if there is no money for liquor there is no problems or issues of domestic violence a reduction of 97%. A challenge to government to stop killing the people, u don’t need a firearme to kill people only ure liquor that makes billions and destroy people,the other small percentage remaining is social related.

  9. hi admin my boyfriend of two years is always blaming me for everything that goes bad , he blame me when his friend don’t great me , for not smiling or playing with them and their girlfriends or socialising with naturally a quiet person and I have my own friends and they don’t make me feel small around them . they treat me good and I can smile the whole time when I am with them . he blames all the time , he judge me like he can see my future , he insult me and blackmail me . he calls me stupid sometime and says that I am a bad person I don’t have the feeling of a human being . i tried to leave him so many times but he always make me feel guilty and he make me stay .I am so tired of crying I don’t know how to get out of this situation and right now I am stressed . he always come back and tell me what his friends are saying about me and he agree with them . if I don’t greet someone he will question me and blame but if someone does not greet me he will question me and blame for what the person did.
    please help I am confused

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