"Show me the money that the Justice Department can use to really make a difference to the lives of millions of women and their children in this country," demanded MP Susanne Vos during the parliamentary debate surrounding the passage of the Domestic Violence Act (No 116 of 1998) (Hansard 2 November 1998: 7224). Her question remains of pressing importance to the one in two women in South Africa who, in one form or another, is subject to abuse in her intimate relationship. This article takes up her challenge, using it as the starting point for an examination of budgets allocated to and expenditure on the Act.
Lisa Vetten is the former manager of the Gender Programme at the Centre for the study of Violence and Reconciliation. In 2013 she obtained a Master of Arts degree in Political Studies (cum laude) from the University of the Witwatersrand. Her dissertation was entitled 'Deserving and undeserving women: A case study of South African policy and legislation addressing domestic violence.