A Protection Order is an order issued by a court ordering a person with whom one has or has had a domestic relationship (the respondent), to stop the abuse.

It’s a legal document that specifies the conditions that an abuser must adhere to, as specified by the courts.

The conditions for a Protection order in terms of Domestic/gender base violence are as follows:

·         You will need to show a pattern of abuse.

·         It has to be a form of domestic violence which includes:

o Physical violence

o Sexual violence

o Financial abuse

o Emotional/verbal violence

The order may also prohibit the respondent from:

·         enlisting the help of another person to commit any such act;

·         entering a residence shared by a complainant and the respondent or a specified part of the shared residence or the victims place of employment or where the victim resides; committing any other act as specified in the protection order including an order to seize any firearms or dangerous weapon from the respondent; or

·         financially threatening the victim by making monetary relief available to the victim.

If you feel or have reason to believe that you’re a victim of any act of domestic/gender-based violence, you can bring an application for a protection order.

Before obtaining a protection order, you need to apply for an interim protection order first. The court in its discretion will issue an interim protection order after a court date has been issued to the respondent.

The interim order specifies the date at which the final order will be considered. Only once the final order is made, it will be permanent and can only be changed by applying to the courts.

Requesting a protection order doesn’t mean that you’re laying a charge against your abuser. However, if you’re a victim of a type of domestic abuse that’s also a crime, then you can apply for a protection order, lay a criminal charge, or both.

If your abuser breaches, or breaks the conditions of the protection order, the complainant/victim is obliged to go to the police station and open a criminal case.

The complainant must file an affidavit and in an explicit manner include all forms of abuse in the affidavit.

The respondent will then be criminally charged with the contempt of court. This applies even if the breach is not an actual crime, such as controlling behaviour. If the breach itself involves a crime, such as assault, then the abuser can be charged with both contempt of court and assault.

For direct answers to your specific personal questions, please contact us directly.

Read more about our family law services.

Author – Kate Bailey – Hill

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