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16 Days of Activism: when and how to apply for a protection order

Picture:Mika Baumeister/Unsplash

Picture:Mika Baumeister/Unsplash

Published Nov 30, 2021


Durban – While the country battles a fourth wave of Covid-19 infections, gender-based violence cases continue to increase.

Earlier this month, Police Minister Bheki Cele revealed that more than 9 500 women were raped between July and September 2021, while 13 000 cases of assault on women were reported.

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According to Sandri Appelgryn, private social worker in the field of forensic practice and member of The South African Association of Social Workers in Private Practice, the sad reality is that despite the actions taken prior to the outbreak of Covid-19, the public remained oblivious to the prevalence and impact of GBV, unless it was experienced first-hand.

Appelgryn said more needs to be done to educate the public on GBV.

She added that younger generations also desperately need to be educated in being able to identify GBV and to associate it with a criminal offence, in addition to being empowered to report it to the designated institutions.

"The youth of South Africa should be educated to understand that GBV is not the norm and should never be treated as such. Supporting the youth to be involved in organising public campaigns aimed at raising awareness of GBV should be more prevalent. Further, familiarising youth with the legal systems in place might also encourage them to report incidents of GBV they are witnessing," she said.

In light of 16 Days of Activism, SAPS has released information on when and how to apply for a protection order.

When should I apply for a protection order?

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If you feel that you are a victim of any act of domestic violence or abuse, approach your local magistrate’s court.

Request assistance in bringing an application for a protection order.

The Clerk of the Court will assist you to complete the necessary forms and take you before a magistrate who will determine whether to grant the order or not.

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Which Court should I approach?

Approach the court nearest to where you live or work. If you were forced to leave your place of residence as a result of the violence and are living elsewhere temporarily, you may approach the court closest to your temporary residence.

Application for protection order

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Any complainant may apply for a protection order.

The application may also be brought by any person with material interest in the well-being of the complainant (eg. social worker or teacher).

Any minor or person on behalf of the minor can also apply for a protection order.

The application may be heard in camera and the complainant/respondent may be allowed to bring three people for support.

The protection order is valid for life and enforceable throughout the country.

Who can I apply for a protection against?

Spouse, whether married by civil or customary rites.

Your partner who lives or has lived with you, whether married or not.

The other parents of your child or those who share responsibility with you for the child.

People you are related to, whether by blood, marriage or adoption.

A person you were engaged to, whether customary or in a relationship with, including an actual or perceived romantic, intimate or sexual relationship of any duration.

A person who have recently shared a residence.

SAPS said 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.