The purpose of the act is to provide for the issuing of protection orders with regard to domestic violence, and matters connected herewith.
For reason of simplicity, this act has been paraphrased except for the relevant definitinions found in section 1, which have been rearranged for simplicity.
The full Domestic Violence act can be downloaded from the internet for free.
"Domestic relationship" means a relationship between a complainant and a respondant in any of the following ways
a) they are or were married to each other, including marraige according to any law, custom or religion;
b) they (whether they are of same or of the opposite sex) live or lived together in a relationship in t-he nature of a marriage, although they are not, or were not, married to each other;
c) they are the parents of a child or are persons who have had parental responsability for that child (whether or not at the same time);
d) they are family members related by consauginuity, affinity or adoption;
e) they are or were in an engagement, dating or customary relationship, including an actual or persived romantic, intimate or sexual relationship of any duration, or
f) they share or recently shared the same residence.
"domestic violence" means -
a) physical abuse
"physical abuse" means any act or threatened act of physical violence towards a complainant;
b) sexual abuse
"sexual abuse" means any conduct that abuses, humiliates, degrades or otherwise violates the sexual integrity of the complainant;
c) emotional, verbal and psychological abuse
"emotional, verbal and psychological abuse" means a pattern of degrading or humiliating conduct towards a complainant, including
a) repeated insults, ridicule or name calling;
b) the repeated exhibition of obsessive possessiveness or jealousy, which is such as to constitute a serious invasion of the complainants privacy, liberty, integrity or security;
d) economic abuse
"economic abuse" includes -
a) the unreasonable deprivation of economic or financial resources to which a complainant is entitled under law or which the complainant requires out of necessity, including household necessities for the complainant, and mortgage bond repayments or payment of rent in respect of the shared residence;
b) the unreasonable disposal of household effects or other property in which the complainant has an interest;
"intimidation" means uttering or conveying a threat, or causing a complainant to receive a threat, which induces fear;
"harassment" means engaging in a pattern or conduct that induces the fear of harm to a complainant including -
a) repeatedly watching or loitering outside of or near the building or place where the complainant resides, works, carries on business, studies or happens to be;
b) repeatedly making telephone calls or inducing another person to make telephone calls to the complainant, whether or not conversation ensues;
c) repeatedly sending, delivering or causing the delivery of letters, telegrams, packages, facsimile, electronic mail or other objects to the complainant;
"stalking" means repeatedly following, perusing, or accosting the complainant;
h) damage to property
"damage to property" means the wilful damaging or destruction of property belonging to a complainant or in which the complainant has a vested interest;
i) entry into the complainants residence without consent, where the parties do not share the same residence; or
j) any other controlling or abusive behaviour towards the complainant.
Application for a protection order.
The SAPS are supposed to render any assistance required in an incident of donestic violence, including making arrangements for suitable shelter and medical assistance where nessarry.
The SAPS are also supposed to explain the domestic violence act and inform the complainant of their right to lodge a criminal complaint where nessarry.
The complainant must apply to the court for a protection order. If the complainant does not have legal representation, it is the duty of the clerk of the court to assist you with filling in the forms for domestic violence and inform you if a criminal complaint should be lodged.
A protection order may be lodged at the court by anyone on behalf of the complainant provided that person has a letter from the complainant to do so except in the case of the complainant being
a) a minor,
b) mentally retarded,
c) unconscious, or
d) a person whom the court is satisfied is unable to provide the required consent.
The complainant may bring any supporting affidavite from witnesses who can support the domestic violence accusations.
The clerk of the court must submit all affidavits and evidence of domestic violence to the court.
The court must as soon as reasonally possible deal with the submission of evidence and may request additional affidavits and evedence as deemed nessarry.
The court may also refer the case to the Family Advocate for investigation, and where nessarry, order mediation.
If the court finds there is sufficient evidence for domestic violenand that undue hardships may be suffered by the complainant, an interim protection order must be issued to the respondant with a notice to appear in court.
An interim protection order will only be in effect once it Haas been served to the respondant.
If the respondant does not appear in court to defend themself against the protection order application, and the court finds sufficient evedience for the protection order, then the protection order must be issued.
If the protection order is granted, the clerk of the court must forward certified copies of the protection order and suspended warrent of arrest to the police station of the complainants choice.
The court may also, if it dreams nessarry, remove any weapons from the respondant and order a peace officer to accomoany the complainant to collect any personal property from the respondant.
If the court decides that it is in the best interests of a child, they may refuse the respondant contact with the child or contact under conditions dreamed appropriate.
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