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Apply for a Domestic Violence protection order

What is domestic violence?

According to the Domestic Violence Act No. 116 of 1998 it is:

  • any form of abuse which includes physical, sexual, emotional, psychological or economic harassment
  • damage to property
  • stalking
  • entry into a person's property without their consent
  • any other abusive or controlling behavior where such a conduct causes harm or may cause harm to your health, safety, or well being

If these forms of abuse are happening to you or to anyone you know, you can apply for a protection order. A domestic violence protection order is a document issued by the court which prevents the abuser from:

  • committing an act of domestic violence
  • enlisting the help of another person to commit any such act
  • entering a residence shared by the complainant and the respondent
  • entering a specified part of such a shared residence
  • entering the complainant’s residence
  • entering the complainant’s place of employment
  • preventing the complainant who ordinarily lives or lived in a shared residence from entering or remaining in the shared residence or a specified part of the shared residence or
  • committing any other act as specified in the protection order.

Who can apply for a protection order?

  • anyone who is or has been abused
  • a minor, who may lodge an application unassisted
  • any person who has an interest in the life of the complainant.

The following persons can apply with the written consent of the complainant, unless the complainant is a minor, a mentally retarded person, unconscious or if the court is satisfied that he or she is unable to give the required consent:

  • Counsellor
  • Health worker
  • Policeman
  • Social worker
  • Teacher

Steps to follow

  • Apply for a protection order at a Magistrates Court nearest to where you live and work, at any time, during and outside court hours as well as on public holidays or weekends.
  • First, apply for the Interim Protection Order by completing Form 6: Interim Protection Order at your nearest Magistrate’s Court or High Court.
  • Once you have applied for the Interim Protection Order, complete Form 2: Application for Protection Order at your nearest Magistrate’s Court or High Court.
  • The application must be made by way of an affidavit which states:
    • the facts on which the application is based
    • the nature of the order applied for
    • the name of the police station where the complainant is likely to report any breach of the protection order applied for.
  • Where the application is brought on behalf of a complainant by another person, the affidavit must state:
    • The grounds on which the other person has a material interest in the well-being of the complainant.
    • The occupation of the other person and capacity in which such a person brings the application.
    • The written consent of the complainant, except in cases where the complainant is:

      - a minor
      - mentally retarded
      - unconscious
      - a person whom the court is satisfied that he or she is unable to provide the required consent.

  • Certify the form with the clerk of court and submit it.
  • On receipt of the form, the clerk will send your application to the magistrate who will then set a date for you to return to court, so that your application can be considered.
  • The magistrate will also prepare a notice to inform the abuser about the protection order and when he or she should come to court.
  • After the court appearance, the magistrate may grant the protection order.

Legal framework

Domestic Violence Act, 1998 (Act 116 of 1998) and related regulations (available on this page: http://www.justice.gov.za/legislation/acts/acts_full.html) and the National Instructions (SAPS).

Service standard

  • In emergencies, the service is available 24 hours a day.
  • A protection order may be obtained on the same day, but generally, this depends on the complexity of your case.
  • The order is valid until the abused person cancels it.
  • If the abuser lodges an appeal, the order continues to operate until it is cancelled by the Appeal Court.

Cost

The service is free.

Forms to complete

All forms relating to Domestic Violence are available on this page: http://www.justice.gov.za/forms/form_dva.htm

Contact details

Department of Justice – Chief Directorate: Promotion of the Rights of Vulnerable Groups
Province: Gauteng
City/town: Pretoria
Tel: 012- 315 1458
Fax: 012 –315 1851
Physical address: Department of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Directorate: Child Justice and Family Law, Momentum Building, 329 Pretorius Street, Pretoria, 0001
Postal address: Private Bag X81, Pretoria, 0001
Web address: www.justice.gov.za

Department of Justice – Directorate: Gender Issues
Province: Gauteng
City/town: Pretoria
Tel: 012 315 1670
Fax: 012 315 1960
Physical address: Department of Justice and Constitutional Development, Gender Issues, Momentum Building, 329 Pretorius Street, Pretoria, 0001
Postal address: Private Bag X81, Pretoria, 0001
Web address: www.justice.gov.za

Contact details for Magistrate Courts (Lower Courts): http://www.justice.gov.za/contact/lowercourts_full.html

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Updated: 2011/07/06