What is domestic violence?
Domestic violence is where a person is being harmed by another person while they are in a domestic relationship.
What will be considered to be domestic violence?
- Physical abuse– if a person is being injured by another, for example, being punched, kicked or pushed.
- Sexual abuse– if a person either male or female is being forced by the respondent to perform a sexual act, for example, rape or being touched inappropriately.
- Emotional and psychological abuse– if a person verbally insults or humiliates another, for example, calling him/her names directly or even through any form of media.
- Economic abuse– if a person suffers financial damages caused by another, for example, where the respondent sells household property or uses a joint bank account for personal use without the consent of the complainant.
- Intimidation, harassment or stalking– if a person repeatedly follows and watches over another with intend to stalk him or her, or where a person makes unwanted telephone calls or sends unwanted e-mails and text messages to the complainant.
- Property damages– if a person damages any property that belongs to another person.
- Trespassing– if a person enters another person’s home or property without his/her consent.
What is a domestic relationship?
Persons will be considered to be in a domestic relationship if they are:
- married to each other according to any law, custom or religion;
- living together in a long-term relationship without being married (cohabitation);
- parents of a child;
- family members by blood, marriage or adoption;
- dating each other or engaged to each other; or
- staying together in the same home.
What remedies are available to a complainant?
A complainant experiencing domestic violence can lodge a complaint or a criminal charge against the other person the nearest police station or in special circumstances the person can approach a court to apply for a protection order.
Who can apply for a protection order?
- The person who is the complainant can apply for a protection order.
- If the complainant is a child, s/he can apply for a protection order on his/her own and does not have to be assisted by a parent or a guardian.
- It is also possible for a person to make an application for a protection order on behalf of the complainant. This means that any person who has an interest in the wellbeing and safety of the complainant can make an application. If the complainant is older than 18 years of age, the written consent of the complainant is required to make an application on his/her behalf.
How can a person apply for a protection order?
- An application for a protection order can be made at a Magistrate’s Court in the area where the complainant or the respondent lives or works, or where the domestic violence happened.
- The complainant will have to complete the necessary application forms, which can be obtained at the clerk of the court or the person can hire an advocate to represent them in court.
- The application is in the form must contain the following information:
- the facts relating to the domestic violence and any evidence in support thereof, for example, the type of domestic violence, when it happened and medical reports;
- the type of protection that is applied for, for example, that the respondent should stop abusing the complainant; and
- the name of the police station where any breach of the protection order will most likely be reported to.
How can a protection order be enforced?
If the court grants an interim or final protection order, a warrant of arrest will also be issued and provided to the complainant. If the respondent (the perpetrator) breaches the terms and conditions set out in the protection order, the complainant must report the breach to the police and the respondent can be arrested in terms of the warrant of arrest.
How can a protection order be cancelled or changed?
- The complainant or respondent can apply to court to cancel or change a protection order, upon providing a good reason.
- Written notice of such an application must be given to the court and the other person.
For more inquiry about Domestic Violence please chat us on the chat option through our Wakili 101 mobile APP or www.wakili101.com and our dedicated team of advocates will respond to you immediately.