How domestic violence affects a household and can a person do something about it?
A question that is often asked is can I do something about domestic violence? The answer is yes, the Domestic Violence Act of 1998 (“The Act”) is the primary legislation that provides protection for victims of domestic violence in South Africa. The Act defines domestic violence as any physical, emotional, intimidation, harassment, stalking, psychological and/or economic abuse that occurs within a relationship, and also answers many questions about what domestic violence is.
Domestic violence can affect everyone and anyone, men, women, children and elderly persons as a matter of fact.
The Constitution provides protection for the rights of all citizens, including the right to be free from violence and abuse.
The truth about domestic violence is that people are too scared to speak up or feels ashamed do anything about the situation. My view is that you need to use your voice and speak up the first time an incident occurs, it is only going to get worse and more violent if you leave it or keep silent.
If you’re the victim of domestic violence in your home, the first step that needs to be taken is to go to your local Magistrate Court and have a protection order issued, which prohibits the abuser from contacting or approaching the victim.
What are the requirements to act against domestic violence is always the question and any person has a legal obligation to report any incidents to a social worker when it comes to minor children or bring it under the attention of a police officer. The police officer will assist in an affidavit that states the facts and nature of the occurrence and that can be made at the nearest police station in your area and/or where the occurrence happened at the said area.
Thereafter you need to approach your attorney to assist you with the proceedings in the Magistrates Court nearest to where you live and this can be done at any time, the steps that your attorney is going to assist you in is to apply for the interim protection order by completing forms that will be provided from any Magistrate’s Court, once you have applied for the interim protection order.
The Magistrate will then prepare a notice to inform the abuser about the protection order and when he or she should attend to Court. The Court will also instruct a police officer or a Sheriff to serve the interim protection order on the alleged abuser. After the Court appearance, the Magistrate may grant the final protection order.
The consideration of application and issuing of interim protection orders states the Court must as soon as is reasonably possible consider an application submitted to it in terms of Section (1)(b) and may for that purpose, consider such additional evidence as it deems fit.
Another area of violation can be found the workplace – some people does not realize when it is happening – it can be from any colleague and or a superior. Examples of violations in the workplace can be seen as direct physical assault, written or verbal threats, physical or verbal harassment, gender-based violence and any form of bullying is acknowledged as a violation from any colleague in the workplace.
“Equity in the workplace is regulated and codified in the Employment Equity Act, 1998 (EEA). Section 54 of The EEA – empowers the Minister of Employment and Labour to issue codes of good practice on the advice of the Commission of Employment Equity (CEE)”.
In the Government Gazette of the EEA it is recorded that any violence and harassment in the “World of Work” should be submitted within 60 days of the incident and can be submitted to the Department of Employment and Labour.
So, my advice is act fast in situations like this and don’t leave it until it is too late.
Angelique joined CK in 2022 as an assistant to Michéle Engela.
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