Evaluating the legal protection system for survivors of intimate partner violence using the Normalisation Process Theory: A Case study of MOSAIC

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Intimate partner violence (IPV) is the most prevalent form of violence against women, both worldwide and in South Africa. Many studies have positioned South Africa as having one of the highest rates of both IPV prevalence and femicide. Correspondingly, intimate partners are responsible for most femicides in South Africa. Despite being recognised globally as a criminal act, violence against women continues to threaten women's lives and violate their human rights. The South African Domestic Violence Act 1998 (DVA) protects against future acts of violence through the process of Protection Order (PO) application in Domestic Violence courts. Yet, The United Nations Women's Rights Committee (UN, 2021) found that frequent failures by the police to serve and enforce POs and low levels of prosecution and conviction in IPV cases in South Africa expose survivors to repeated abuses and results in the violation of South African women's fundamental rights. Although South African laws and policies on violence against women are considered comprehensive and comparative to international standards, increasingly high levels of IPV, reveal a wide rift between lived experiences of women in South Africa and the legislation in place. Despite this, there appear to be no recent studies that address barriers within programmatic implementation from the perspectives of IPV survivors. To add to this, it is widely acknowledged that IPV is multifaceted by nature and deeply entrenched in social norms. Thus, programmatic reponses must be pragmatic, dynamic and holistic to increase the chance of improvements at both individual and systemic levels. This dissertation, therefore, presents a process evaluation of the MOSAIC Access to Justice programme, a legal programme targeted at survivors of domestic violence. The focus is on the implementation of the legal processes in PO application for survivors of IPV and the key players and contextual factors applicable to this process. Accordingly, the focus is also placed on the possible barriers and facilitators to the PO process. MOSAIC is an NGO that operates across South Africa and seeks to provide holistic care to IPV survivors. The Access to Justice programme is one of several programmes implemented by MOSAIC. For the purposes of this dissertation, the evaluation will focus on the legal processes in the Wynberg and Khayelitsha courts. These are both located in low-income areas surrounding Cape Town