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05 Domestic Violence

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Domestic Violence
Introduction
Before the Domestic Violence Act, the definition of “domestic violencewas uncertain and there was a
view that things that occurred in the home should stay there, but this led to much abuse, occasionally
even murder.
Violence within the family context can have different manifestations:
It usually covers the actual or threatened violence or harassment between married or de facto partners
living in the same household or who have lived together previously
The term family violence” is wide enough to include violence against children and elderly family
members.
Definition
From the Domestic Violence Act - Domestic Violence is defined as “any controlling or abusive behaviour
that harms the health, safety or well-being of the applicant pr any child in the care of the applicant.
The definition then elaborates on behaviour which will constitute domestic violence, which includes but
it not limited to physical abuse or threat of physical abuse, sexual abuse or threat of sexual abuse,
emotional, verbal and psychological abuse, economic abuse, intimidation, harassment, stalking, damage
to or destruction of property or entry into the applicants residence without consent where the parties
do share the same residence.
Who can apply under the Act?
Any person including a child who is or has been in a domestic relationship with the respondent, may
apply for a protection order.
The Act extends the meaning of a domestic relationship to include any person who lives or lived with
another person in a relationship similar to marriage.
This includes the parties to a relationship whether of the same or opposite sex
Persons who are or were in an engagement, dating or customary relationship
Any person who shares or shared the same household or residence with the respondent
The Act therefore provides for the application to be brought on behalf of the applicant with the
applicant’s written consent
Procedures for the Application
The applicant should approach the clerk of the magistrate’s court (clerk deals with all paperwork)
The applicant must complete and sign a form called an “Application for an Interdict oath, in which the
applicant stipulates the action that needs to be stopped or prevented.
The application and affidavits are lodged with the clerk of the magistrate court who must forthwith
submit the application and affidavits to the court
The court then hears the application (ex parte on the application of”)
IN considering the application, the magistrate may require the submission of further oral evidence or
affidavit evidence and must record all written evidence.
If the court is satisfied that the respondent is committing or has committed an act of domestic violence it
must grant an interim protection order against the respondent even if the respondent has not been given
notice of the proceedings
In terms of the interim protection order, the respondent is called upon to show cause on the return date
(rule nisi) specified in the interim order (which has been effected on the respondent) why the interim
order should not be confirmed.
Role of the Police
The Domestic Violence Act provides for:
Mandatory arrest by the police where the respondent contravenes the conditions of suspension and the
complainant may suffer imminent harm
The Act places certain positive duties on members of the South African Police Service (SAPS)
Any members of the SAPS must, as the scene of an incident of domestic violence or as soon as is
reasonably possible or when the incident is reported:

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Domestic Violence Introduction Before the Domestic Violence Act, the definition of “domestic violence” was uncertain and there was a view that things that occurred in the home should stay there, but this led to much abuse, occasionally even murder. Violence within the family context can have different manifestations: It usually covers the actual or threatened violence or harassment between married or de facto partners living in the same household or who have lived together previously The term “family violence” is wide enough to include violence against children and elderly family membe ...
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