To most people the festive period is a chance to spend quality time with loved ones. But for others, particularly women and children, it can be a period of enduring violence and abuse.

What is domestic violence?

The following can be regarded as domestic violence:

  • Sexual abuse (whether you are married to the other person or not);
  • Physical abuse or assault (for example, slapping, biting, kicking, and threats of physical violence);
  • Damage to property or anything you value;
  • Stalking (when the other person follows or approaches you or your children repeatedly);
  • Economic abuse, that is, when the other person keeps money to which you are legally entitled from you in an unreasonable manner by –
  • Refusing to pay or share the rent or mortgage bond for the home you share; or
  • Disposing of any property (household goods) in which you have interest, without your permission;
  • Emotional abuse (that is, degrading or humiliating behaviour, including repeated insults, belittling, cursing and threats); or any other controlling or abusive behaviour which poses a threat to your safety, health or well-being.

What are my options if you are being abused?

You have the right to apply for a protection order at the nearest police station or magistrate’s court; or lay a criminal charge at the police station and apply for a protection order.

What is a protection order?

It is an order issued by a court at your request, ordering a person with whom you have or had a domestic relationship, to stop the abuse. It may also prevent the person from getting help from any other person to commit such acts. An interim protection order can also be issued at any time of the day or night for your protection.

Who can apply for a protection order?

  • Any victim of domestic violence. Children, and if they are too young, a parent or guardian, or
  • Any person acting on behalf of someone who is responsible for them, but with their permission.
  • A police official.

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