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Protection orders in cases of Domestic Violence

One of the harrowing realities in South African society is the prevalence of domestic violence.

While many people know that it is possible to get protection orders against people who commit domestic violence them, the ins and outs of getting a protection order might be difficult to navigate. Consulting with an attorney will definitely help navigate the processes surrounding protection orders.

Where there previously was or currently is a domestic, romantic or marital relationship between the victim of domestic violence and the perpetrator, a protection in terms of the Domestic Violence Act is appropriate.

Various forms to complete: Knowing what to say

The Department of Justice has formulated certain forms that need to be completed by or on behalf of the victim, which gathers the details of the victim and the perpetrator and the incident(s) of domestic violence. In these forms, the victim will also stipulate what they wish the terms of the protection order should be – for instance, the perpetrator may not come near the victim, the perpetrator may not contact the victim, the perpetrator must deliver their weapons to the police so that the victim is no longer endangered.

Unfortunately, these forms are lengthy to complete, and a victim may feel confused on what information to include or what information is actually required for a protection order to be granted. Consulting an attorney is an excellent way for a victim to seek assistance, as an attorney has the necessary legal expertise to make sense of these forms.

The details provided in these forms will be used by a Magistrate to consider and then grant the protection order.

Best Practice: Outlining everything in an Affidavit

It is generally a good practice for the victim also to include an affidavit with the completed form, which details more fully and in the victim’s own word the incident(s) of domestic violence, and describes the victim’s harrowing reality and the fears they have owing to the domestic violence.

Getting the affidavit to say exactly what it needs to is something an attorney can assist with. A victim would therefore do well to consult with an attorney before going to Court to get the protection order. During the consultation, the victim can comfortably describe the incident(s), the attorney can then draft the affidavit and with the affidavit the victim can stand assured that their harrowing reality is adequately relayed to a Magistrate who will consider granting the protection order.

Going to Court for a Protection Order: The daunting prospect

With a completed form and affidavit in hand, the victim will proceed to Court and apply for a protection order. It is not required to have a legal representative when going to Court to get a protection order. However, going to Court is a daunting prospect, particularly for a victim of domestic violence.

Here the services of an attorney can be a godsend. The attorney will know to which Court a victim should go, where the forms and affidavit should be handed in for consideration, when to expect feedback from the Court about the protection order, and what should happen after the protection order is granted.

As with many institutions in South Africa, the Domestic Violence Court is also sometimes inefficient, and having an attorney to guide a victim every step of the way is immensely helpful.

LOMBARD & PARTNERS INC has expertise in obtaining protection orders alongside and on behalf of clients. Our successes are numerous, and we are here to help victims who are faced with the harrowing realty of domestic violence.

DISCLAIMER: This article is intended to give general information. The article is not meant to give formal legal and professional advice to a client. Contact Lombard & Partners Inc at 012 346 6969 / litigation@grutlom.co.za for further advice or to book a consultation.

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