Domestic violence by Greta Eiser (Attorney)

Domestic violence is a systematic pattern of controlling, coercing and violent behaviour intended to punish, abuse and ultimately control the thoughts, beliefs and actions of another. It is about power and control. It includes emotional, physical, verbal, sexual and financial abuse.

In public, the abusers may appear friendly and loving to their partner and family. They often only abuse behind closed doors. They also try to hide their abuse by causing injuries that can be hidden and do not require medical treatment.

Persons of any class, culture, religion, sexual orientation, marital status, age and sex can be victims or perpetrators of domestic violence.

If you are experiencing domestic violence, you may feel you have nowhere to go and no-one to talk to. This is not true. Also remember that the violence is not your fault.

Domestic Violence Act 116 0f 1998

 Domestic violence is regulated by the Domestic Violence Act which was introduced with the purpose of affording victims protection from domestic violence by creating obligations on law enforcement bodies such as the South African Police Service, to protect victims as far as possible. The Act recognises that domestic violence is a serious crime against our society, and extends the definition of domestic violence not only to married persons and their children, but also unmarried persons involved in relationships or living with their partners, people in same sex relationships, and people sharing a living space.

The Act makes provision for the victim to apply for a protection order at the Magistrate’s Court nearest to where one lives.

The Protection Order

 The Protection Order is a court order that orders the abuser to stop the abuse and sets certain conditions preventing the abuser from harassing or abusing the victim again. It may also help ensure that the abuser continues to pay rent or a bond or interim maintenance. The protection order may also prevent the abuser from getting help from any other person to commit abusive acts.

One first applies for an Interim Protection Order which, when granted will have immediate effect once served on the abuser by the police.

When granting the Interim Order the Magistrate will set a date for both parties to appear in court where the matter will be considered and the order may be made final.

 

For more information contact Greta Eiser on 011 783-9021 or on g.eiser@mweb.co.za

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