Protection Orders and What to Do
Many individuals find themselves in a situation wherein they are being harassed or abused by someone with whom they have a domestic relationship and do not know their legal rights or how to enforce these rights. For this reason this article will canvass the process of attending to a case of a protection order and how to protect yourself.
What Is Domestic Violence And How Is It Different From Harassment?
An important distinction should be made between harassment and domestic violence as frequently individuals will attend to the incorrect process and only at a later stage discover that the time invested in having the process started, was all in vain.
Domestic violence is distinguished in situations where there has or was in the past a domestic relationship in existence between the parties to such an application.
In matters of harassment, there is no pre-existing domestic relationship between the parties and as such the parties may not even know one another.
What to do?
In matters wherein you are being abused verbally, emotionally or physically, you can approach a domestic violence court (usually within the District Magistrates Court) for an application for a prevention of domestic violence order.
The process is very straightforward in that a form is to be completed and supporting evidence is to be attached thereto. The court will then consider the application and usually provide an interim protection order as well as a return date for which the parties are to return to court. This is then to be served on the Defending party by sheriff or the SAPS and they have the option to appear in court on the return date to provide a defence as to why the order should not be made final.
Should the order be made final, common orders are that the Defending party is to not communicate with the Complainant, or to enter their place of business or home and to desist from all forms of abuse against the complainant.
Should they contravene this court order, the Complainant in whose favour the order was made, may approach their nearest SAPS to have the Defending party arrested.
Despite the application being quite straight forward, many people do not have the time to go to court or are concerned about including the incorrect information on the application. If you are one of these people, we can do the application on your behalf to have yourself protected from someone who may be abusing you.