A protection order aims at preventing the re-occurrence of domestic violence or sexual harassment by stating what conduct the alleged offender must refrain from doing.
As long as the offender complies with the protection order, the complainant will be safe. If the respondent (offender) contravenes any stipulation ofthe protection order, he/she may be arrested. Once a protection order isgranted, it is enforceable throughout the country.
Who can apply for a Protection Order?
- Any person who feels threatened.
- The application for a protection order is not limited to thecomplainant.
- An application for a protection order may be brought on behalf of thecomplainant by any other person who has an interest in the well-being of thecomplainant. This includes a counsellor, a health service provider, a socialworker, a teacher or a member of the SAPS.
How to apply for a Protection Order?
- The complainant must do an affidavit and complete an application format a police station.
- Supporting affidavits by persons who have the knowledge of the matter in question, may accompany the application.
- These documents must be handed to the clerk of the nearest court. Thecourt will consider the application immediately.
- The application for a protection order is not limited to thecomplainant. An application for a protection order may be brought on behalfof the complainant by any other person who has an interest in the well-beingof the complainant. This includes a counsellor, a health service provider, asocial worker, a teacher or a member of the SAPS.
- If the court is satisfied that there is sufficient evidence that thesuspect is committing or has committed an act of domestic violence/harassmentand unnecessary hardship may be suffered by the complainant as a result ofthe act, the court will issue an interim protection order against the respondent.
- The application for an interim protection order may be brought at anytime and not only during office hours or on court days.
- The purpose of this interim protection order is to provide immediateprotection to the complainant.
- The interim protection order has no force or effect until it has beenserved on the respondent.
- The court is also required to issue a suspended warrant of arrest forthe respondent. A breach of the protection order requires that the respondentmust be arrested by the police immediately.
- The interim protection order is not a final order from the court, but atemporary order which grants immediate relief until the return date (the dateon which the applicant and the respondent, after being given due notice, areto appear before court to have the protection order made a final order). Onthis return date, the respondent is afforded the opportunity to present tothe court reasons why the protection order should not be made final.
- If the respondent does not appear in court on the return date, but thecourt is satisfied that proper notice has been given to the respondent andthat there is sufficient evidence that the respondent has committed or iscommitting an act of domestic violence/sexual harassment, the court may makea final order on the return date.
- The protection order will prevent the respondent from:
- committing any specified act of domestic violence/sexualharassment
- entering the joint residence or entering a specific part of theresidence
- entering the victim’s residence if they are not living together
- entering the victim’s place of employment/office
- having contact with a child or children, if it is in the best interestof the child.
- If a protection order has been obtained, the respondent cannot preventthe victim or a child who usually lives at the shared residence, fromentering or remaining in the shared residence or any part of it.