Family violence (commonly referred to as 'domestic violence') is a sad reality for many South African families.
Family violence is when one person (the complainant) is being harmed by another person (the respondent) who they share a home or domestic relationship with.
A case of family violence can only be considered when the complainant and respondent are:
There are various forms of family violence and abuse, including the following:
If you are the victim of any of the above-mentioned types of abuse, the appropriate, legal solution would be to apply for a protection order.
A protection order (which can also be referred to as a 'restraining order') is a legal document that enumerates the conditions that an abuser as to adhere to, as ordered by the court.
To obtain an interim protection order, the complainant has to go to the Magistrate's Court in the area where he or she resides, or where the abuse is taking place.
The application will outline the following:
The clerk of the court will then stamp the application form, and put it in a file create especially for the complainant.
The file will then be handed over to the Magistrate to review. Once the Magistrate has read the file, he or she will either:
Once an interim protection order is granted, the clerk of the court will give the complainant a case number and the date that he or she has to return to court.
The Magistrate will then appoint a Sheriff of the Court to serve the interim protection order on the respondent, while informing them that they have to appear in court on the specified date to tell their side of the story.
An interim protection order will have no effect until it has been served on the respondent. But if the respondent fails to appear in court on the specified date, the interim protection order will be made final.
If the respondent appears in court, the court will hear evidence from both parties, consider all the evidence, then make their decision.
Once the court grants an interim or final protection order, a warrant of arrest will be issued in favour of the complainant.
If the respondent breaches the conditions of the protection order, the complainant should report him or her to the police, and the respondent will be arrested.
If you are the victim of family violence and abuse, contact Van Deventer and Van Deventer Incorporated for family attorneys who can assist with protecting you and your loved ones.
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