A South African based non-profit organisation focused on transforming gendered economic inequality through social development and economic and financial protection (and recovery) through the enforcement of maintenance agreements and enforcement of domestic violence protection orders


Economic abuse is when one’s access to economic opportunities is controlled or limited by an intimate partner which creates dependence which is the biggest barrier to leaving an abusive relationship.  This behaviour changes shape and form post relationship whereby money, mostly child support, becomes the tool used to cause harm.



In a nutshell…


Our vision…

The Institute for Social Development and Justice is a South African non-profit registered company focused on addressing domestic abuse with a focus on economic abuse through awareness, education, advocacy and policy change.

To mainstream financial and economic abuse as a form of domestic violence through public awareness in the media, to advocate for greater protection of victims in the judicial process, to train/provide knowledge to service providers so they are able to better serve victims.

Our passion…


Our client centered training programs have specifically been developed for the South African landscape to meet the need for information and knowledge for legal practitioners, paralegals, social workers, mediators, family coordinators and psychologists, judicial personnel (maintenance officers, court personnel) and others that work in the domestic violence and maintenance discourse.


We conduct community workshops to educate communities on the Domestic Violence Act, the Children’s Act and the Maintenance Act.  We provide information and tools for community advice centres who are mostly run by community members under the guidance of paralegals to be better informed and offer valuable practical assistance at grass roots level.


We make submissions on discussion papers specifically related to gender-based violence, intimate partner violence, child maintenance, financial and economic abuse. Our services are offered and utilized by the South African Law Reform Commission in policy considerations. We encourage members of the public to make submissions based on their lived experiences so that any amendments can be victim centred and focused.


Creating awareness to the many intersections, overlaps and impacts of women carrying the burden of raising children on their own is critical for the protection of women and children who are the most vulnerable and marginalized of society. Our advocacy includes: discussions with the Chief Family Advocates office, Department of Justice’s National Strategic Planning session, Maintenance Conferences and community outreaches.


Whilst great strides have been made in advancing awareness on the scourge of financial and economic abuse it is still in its infancy in South Africa, peer to peer sharing of knowledge and information with international organizations will accelerate the work in South Africa.  We have been included in the international economic abuse community, Canadian Centre for Women’s Empowerment, Survivors of Economic Abuse in the United Kingdom and Centre for Women’s Empowerment in Australia.


The research on Economic abuse in South Africa is limited; it does however correlate with research conducted internationally.  Globally there is a lack of empirical data on post relationship abuse of which financial abuse is one component of the cycle/wheel. We have launched our own research to collect data on the prevalence of Economic and Financial Abuse in relationship and post relationship, the research includes victims’ experiences in the Family Courts. The results of the research will provide the much-needed data to not only inform policy but legislation.

Our past project gallery…

If you are the victim of domestic abuse, physical abuse, emotional or economic abuse or rape you can file your complaint online by clicking on the link

Our partnerships / collaborations…

Collaborate with us. Join as a partner in a project.
Join us as an ambassador.

Courses we offer…


Become certified as a Financial Abuse Specialist with in-depth training of economic abuse as a subsection of domestic violence.

Legal professionals, NPO’s, social workers & financial industry

Online / In person

5 weeks online / 20 hours in person

Learn more…


In depth training of the Maintenance Act & Regulations

Legal, NPO’s, judiciary, maintenance officers and court personnel.

Online / In person

2 weeks online / 10 hours in person

Learn more…


Unpacking the Domestic Violence Act & Regulations. Practical applications of the Act.

Legal, NPO’s, judiciary, maintenance officers and court personnel.

Online / In person

2 weeks online / 10 hours in person

Learn more…


Free monthly Community Dialogues on Maintenance presented in collaboration with the NPA (National Prosecuting Authority)

Attorneys, NPO’s, public, judiciary, maintenance personnel & social workers.

Online (live stream) / In person in Cape Town

 6 hours in person / live stream

Learn more…


Shortcourse on practical legal drafting of divorce settlements, applications for maintenance or domestic violence.

Legal practitioners dealing with divorces, maintenance & domestic violence

Online / In person

4 hours online / 4 hours in person

Learn more…


Practical coaching in a maintenance setting. This is a practical application course and not a formal mediation course.

Legal, NPO’s, judiciary, maintenance officers and court personnel.

Online / In person

1 week online / 6 hours in person

Learn more…

26 November : Economic Abuse Awareness Day

ISDJ in collaboration with international partners are celebrating Economic Abuse Awareness Day in South Africa on 26 November 2024. The aim is to create awareness around this silent, yet detrimental form of family violence and abuse. Should you want to collaborate with us, or even just support our campaign, please register your interest and we will be in touch.

Register your interest