What is Domestic Violence?
Domestic violence is aggression or violence that happens in the home. In most cases, the violence is carried out by a man against a woman, although not always.
It can happen in any family and in all kinds of homes and includes:
According to the Domestic Violence Act 116 of 1998, domestic violence" means-
- physical abuse;
- sexual abuse;
- emotional, verbal and psychological abuse;
- economic abuse;
- damage to property;
- entry into the complainant's residence without consent, where the parties do not share the same
- any other controlling or abusive behaviour towards a complainant.
How to get a restraining order:
Note all the incidents of domestic violence committed to you or your children on paper. Be clear with dates and times.
Obtain all relevant details of the person whom you want to be protected against, e.g. his/her home and work address and identity number etc.
Go to the Domestic Violence Court closes to you. The Clerk of the Court will hand you a document to complete. The document is referred to as an "Application for Protection Order". Use the information you gathered in Step 1 and complete in the document. The document is an affidavit so be sure that what you say is true and correct.
After you have filled in the Application for Protection Order document, the Clerk of the Court will take the completed documents to a Magistrate who would read through it and ask you a couple of questions. The Magistrate will then either:
(a) dismiss your application if there is no evidence that domestic violence is taking place;
(b) grant an Interim Protection Order in your favour which will be finalised on a date provided by the Court where the Respondent will have a chance to give his / her side of the story; or
(c) postpone the matter without granting an Interim Protection Order and provide a date when the Respondent will get a chance to give his / her side of the story.
It is important to note that an Interim Protection Order has no force until it is served on the Respondent.
The Respondent has to be informed about the application and the return date. The Clerk of the Court will give you the necessary documents to deliver at a Police Station or sheriff's office in order to serve it on the Respondent.
If the Respondent commits any act of domestic violence towards you, after the order was granted report the matter immediately to the Police and if there is no Interim Protection in place yet, go and report it to the Domestic Violence Court in order to get an order.