ACCORDING to the Independent Police Investigative Directorate's report tabled in parliament this year, police do not always comply with the Domestic Violence Act (DVA) and this hampers victims' progress.
The report states that between January and March this year, Eastern Cape police were rated as the worst in the country when it came to issuing warrants of arrest as well as arresting domestic abusers.
It further stated the "major challenge" to compliance of the act is maintaining "an acceptable level of regulatory compliance in terms of administrative abilities and record keeping" when it comes to the handling of domestic violence.
Restraining orders issued by the police are there to protect the victims of domestic violence, but Prospect Hill Crisis Centre supervisor Lindsay Ziehl said the orders often were disregarded.
"A lot of the times the protection orders are just a piece of paper because if the abuser can't be found [by police], then they are still free to do anything. And when they do find the abuser, the person can just tear it up and then the victim has to go back and get another copy of the order from the police," Ziehl said.
"But there are also those women who go back to the court and have the order rescinded because they have gone back home or the couple have made up."
She said over the past year and a half "the police in our area have been very good at serving the order and making sure that the victim is safe".
Ziehl said her organisation's collaboration with the police led to better service being offered to victims by the police.
"I believe that stronger sentences need to be handed down to abusers to reflect how much of a serious crime this is. I also do believe though that police are getting into treating it seriously.
"Police are getting to the problem areas quicker and people are getting more informed and trained on how to handle domestic abuse cases.
"I must also stress that domestic abuse happens everywhere – from Motherwell to Summerstrand and I don't think the law is hard enough."