Steps to obtain a protection order

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Steps to obtain a protection order

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Phoenix Durban

A protection order aims to prevent the reoccurrence of domestic violence or sexual harassment by stating what conduct the alleged offender must refrain from doing.
As long as he/ she complies with the protection order, the complainant will be safe.
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If the respondent contravenes any stipulation of the protection order, he/ she may be arrested. Once a protection order is granted, it is enforceable throughout the country.
The procedure to apply for a protection order is as follows:

• The complainant must make an affidavit and complete an application form at a police station.
• Supporting affidavits by persons, who have knowledge of the matter in question, may accompany the application.
• These documents must be handed to the clerk of the nearest court. The court will consider the application immediately.
• The application for a protection order is not limited to the complainant. An application for a protection order may be brought on behalf of the complainant by any other person, who has an interest in the well-being of the complainant. This includes a counsellor, a health service provider, a social worker, a teacher or a police official.
• If the court is satisfied that there is sufficient evidence that the suspect is committing or has committed an act of domestic violence/ harassment and unnecessary hardship may be suffered by the complainant as a result of the act, the court will issue an interim protection order against the respondent.
• The application for an interim protection order may be brought at any time and not only during office hours or on court days.
• The purpose of this interim protection order is to provide immediate protection to the complainant.
• The interim protection order has no force or effect until it has been served on the respondent.
• The court is also required to issue a suspended warrant of arrest for the respondent. A breach of the protection order requires that the respondent must be arrested by the police immediately.
• The interim protection order is not a final order from the court, but a temporary order which grants immediate relief until the return date (the date on which the applicant and the respondent, after being given due notice, are to appear before court to have the protection order made a final order). On this return date, the respondent is afforded the opportunity to present to the court reasons why the protection order should not be made final.
• If the respondent does not appear in court on the return date, but the court is satisfied that proper notice has been given to the respondent and that there is sufficient evidence that the respondent has committed or is committing an act of domestic violence/ sexual harassment, the court may make a final order on the return date.
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The protection order will prevent the respondent from :
• Committing any specified act of domestic violence/ sexual harassment.
• Entering the joint residence or entering a specific part of the residence.
• 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 interest of the child.
If a protection order has been obtained, the respondent cannot prevent the victim or a child who usually lives at the shared residence, from entering or remaining in the shared residence or any part of it.
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