Training for police on the Domestic Violence Act
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The inadequate or inappropriate police responses to domestic violence often result from a lack of knowledge of the Domestic Violence Act (DVA) and the National Instruction or from a misinterpretation of the DVA’s provisions. In the interviews undertaken, the central question asked was: ‘Do current training programmes provide SAPS members with the knowledge and skills required to apply the DVA and National Instruction in practice?’ It appeared from the interviews that the majority of the research participants had a basic awareness of the DVA and the National Instruction. However, when it came to the practical application of knowledge in a ‘problem-solving’ scenario, it was notable that the majority of interviewees experienced difficulties when multi-faceted variables were included. It was recommended that more members need training on the DVA, and more frequent and/or more in-depth courses should be offered. Furthermore it was recommended that special attention be devoted to training on domestic violence during the basic six months’ training for new students.