On a daily basis there are people who suffer from the consequences of emotional and physical abuse, but do not know what they can do to prevent it. Two options are available. The victim can apply for a protection warrant or a warrant from harassment. Most people however do not know the difference between the two warrants and which warrant will suit their situation.
Protection warrant under the Domestic Violence Act:
A protection warrant is described as an order that compels a person to perform certain deeds or to prevent him/her from performing certain deeds. These orders emanate from the court’s power to award equitable remedies in these situations. For the awarding of a protection warrant the following must be present:
- There must be a pattern of abuse;
- It must be a form of domestic violence, among others:
– Physical violence
– Sexual violence
– Financial violence
– Emotional/Verbal violence
- The violence must be directed against the person who submits the application.
A protection warrant forms part of the Domestic Violence Act. This means that the abuse must take place between two persons who live in the same house, for example a brother and sister or mother and father etc. Application is made for a protection warrant, after which a return date is determined. On the return date the Applicant can go ahead with the application or withdraw the application. Should the warrant be awarded, it remains in force perpetually. If the Respondent breaches the warrant he/she can receive a five years prison sentence. If the Applicant lodges a false application, he/she can receive a prison sentence of two years.
An application for a protection warrant in an ex parte application, means that the court can issue a warrant without the Respondent being present.
A warrant from harassment under the Protection Against Harassment Act:
Should you be the victim of abuse or threats by a person not living with you, this could be harassment. There are various remedies for victims of harassment, among others to apply for a warrant against harassment. It is important to know the following facts regarding warrants against harassment:
- There needs not be a pattern of abuse; a first offence is sufficient to obtain a warrant against harassment;
- A relationship with the person is not a requirement; it can be a stranger;
- Violence is not a prerequisite;
- Harassment includes: following, messages, deliveries not requested, psychological damage, physical damage, financial damage, etc.
If you wish to apply for a warrant against harassment and do not know the identity of the person, the court has the power to appoint a police officer to investigate the matter. An application for a warrant against harassment takes place in an open court and is not private, which sometimes discourages victims from coming forward.
A warrant against harassment is valid for five years. Should the Applicant withdraw the warrant, the court needs to be sure that the circumstances have changed. The breach of a warrant against harassment can result in five years imprisonment. Applicants who lodge a false application can receive the same sentence.
It is important to know that there are remedies available for victims of abuse, whether it be emotional, physical or financial abuse and regardless of whether the person is known to the victim or is a stranger. Stand up against abuse.
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