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South Africa

Population size: 

59,452,221 [1]

Number of people experiencing domestic abuse each year:

Women who have experienced physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence in their lifetime: 21.3% [2]

Women who have experienced physical and/or Sexual Intimate Partner Violence in the last 12 months:  8.7% [3]

No research on male victims or other gender identities.

Cost of domestic abuse to the economy each year:

No research.

Estimated % change due to COVID-19:

In the first week of the lockdown, Police Minister Bheki Cele stated that police had received more than 87,000 gender-based complaints. [4]

Current law and policy:

South Africa has committed to ending GBV by 2030 with a wide range of reforms in progress.

In 2019 South Africa signed a Gender Based Violence Declaration which outlined the steps the government will take to fight gender-based violence and femicides, including correcting the criminal justice system and working with community leaders and the civil society to change patriarchal attitudes. President Ramaphosa also admitted that GBV is a “national crisis”, further explaining that “There is no acceptable level of gender-based violence. We want to eradicate it.”

Public spending - A community study in 2011, interviewed 261 women. The average economic cost of each domestic violence incidence was 691 USD while average cost for medical expenditure was 29 USD and average loss of income due to domestic violence was 2092 USD. Considering the average monthly income of 482 USD, domestic violence averaged a cost per incident of 691 USD during the previous month, indicating a deficit in household budget. [5]



[1] Worldometer, “South Africa Population (Live)”, (

[2], [3] National Department of Health - NDoH, Statistics South Africa - Stats SA, South African Medical Research Council - SAMRC, and ICF. 2019. South Africa Demographic and Health Survey 2016. Pretoria, South Africa, and Rockville, Maryland, USA: NDoH, Stats SA, SAMRC, and ICF.

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