Domestic Violence is Always Unacceptable
What is Domestic Violence?
According to the Domestic Violence Act No. 116 of 1998, domestic violence is:
- Any form of abuse which includes physical, sexual, emotional, psychological or economic harassment
- Damage to property
- Entry into a person’s property without their consent
- Any other abusive or controlling behaviour where such a conduct causes harm or may cause harm to your health, safety, or well-being.
Forms of abuse in terms of the Domestic Violence Act
- Physical abuse includes but is not limited to:
Shoving, slapping punching, kicking and assault with objects, guns, knives or any other dangerous weapons
- Sexual abuse includes but is not limited to:
Any conduct that abuses, humiliates, degrades or otherwise violates the sexual integrity of the complainant, this may be in the form of rape, attempted rape, or ongoing verbal abuse with sexual slurs.
- Harassment includes but is not limited to:
Repeatedly watching, or loitering outside of or near the building or place where the complainant resides, works carry on business, studies or happens to be.Harassment includes making telephone calls or inducing another person to make telephone calls to the complainant, whether or not conversation ensues. This also includes sending, delivering or causing the delivery of letters, telegrams, packages, facsimiles, electronic mail or other objects to the complainant.
- Damage to property includes:
The willful damaging or destruction of property belonging to a complainant or in which the complainant has a vested interest in, this may take the form of breaking windows to gain entry into the complainant’s house or breaking or damaging in any manner shared moveable property.
- Stalking includes and is not limited to:
Following, pursuing or accosting and the constant demand to talk to the complainant against his/her will.
If you or someone you know has suffered any of the aforementioned abuse, a protection order may be sought.
In terms of section 4 of the Domestic Violence Act, a person who is abused may in the prescribed manner, apply to the court for a protection order.
Section 7 of the Domestic Violence Act explains what actions the protection order will prevent the abuser from committing. A protection order is a written document issued by the court, which legally prevents the abuser from:
- Committing any act of domestic violence;
- Enlisting the help of another to commit any act of domestic violence;
- Entering the complainant’s place of residence;
- Entering the complainant’s place of employment;
- Preventing the complainant who ordinarily lives or lived in a shared residence from entering or remaining in the shared residence or a specified part of the shared residence;
- Committing any other act specified in the court order.
Against whom may you seek protection?
- The person whom you are married to (civil or customary rites)
- A partner with whom you reside
- The other parent of your child
- A person to whom you are related e.g. sister, brother, uncle, aunt etc.,
- A person with whom you are in a relationship
Interim Protection order:
A court will grant an interim protection order in circumstances where it has been convinced that there is evidence that the abuser is committing or has committed an act of domestic violence and the complainant may suffer undue hardship if a protection order is not issued immediately.
The court must, notwithstanding that the abuser has not been given notice of the proceedings, issue an interim protection order against the abuser.
You may not personally hand over the Order to the abuser. The interim protection order must be given to the sheriff or to the police station closest to the abuser’s residential or work address. The official will then deliver the Order to the abuser.
An interim protection order is not a final order. The abuser will be called on a return date stipulated in the interim order, to be given an opportunity to present his or her side of the story to the court and show just cause why the interim order should not be made a final order.
Breach of Protection Order
Breach of a protection order is an offence. The complainant must file an affidavit that is made under oath with the South African Police Services. On receipt of the affidavit and if reasonable grounds exist that the complainant will suffer imminent harm as a result of the alleged contravention, the police will arrest the abuser.
Once the abuser has been charged, the prosecutor may not refuse to prosecute or withdraw the matter, the complainant herself/himself cannot decide to withdraw the charges. The Senior Prosecutor has the sole discretion to withdraw charges. If the abuser is found guilty of contravention of protection order, a fine or imprisonment for a period not exceeding five years may be imposed.
Let Yambu protect you today with a Legal Protection Insurance Policy www.yambu.co.za
Domestic Violence Act No. 116 of 1998