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Domestic Violence

JoanneAnthony domestic violenceDomestic Violence is Abuse

South Africa has one of the highest incidences of domestic violence in the world.
Domestic violence remains the most common and widespread human rights abuse in South Africa. The statistics are horrific! We just need to open the newspaper and watch television to know that women are physically assaulted, raped or murdered, humiliated, harassed, intimidated and stalked by their spouses or intimate partners, on a daily basis in their own homes.

The Domestic Violence Act recognises that domestic violence is a serious social evil in our society. The victims of domestic violence are among the most vulnerable members of society.

Domestic violence takes on many forms and the acts of domestic violence may be committed in a wide range of domestic relationships.

The purpose of the Act is to afford the victims of domestic violence, the maximum protection from abuse and to introduce measures which seek to ensure that the relevant organs of state give full effect to the provisions of the Act.

To convey that that State is committed to the elimination of domestic violence.


Domestic violence is regulated by the Domestic Violence Act 116 of 1998

Domestic Violence Act 116 of 1998

The Act was introduced in 1998 with the purpose of affording victims of domestic violence protection from domestic violence.

The Act recognises that domestic violence is a serious crime against our society, and extends the definition of domestic violence to include not only married women and their children, but also unmarried women who are involved in relationships or living with their partners, people in same-sex relationships, mothers and their sons, and other people who share a living space.

Domestic violence can take a variety of forms including the following:

Physical abuse

Any act or threat of physical violence intended to cause physical pain, injury, suffering or bodily harm.

Sexual abuse

Any conduct that abuses, humiliates, degrades or otherwise violates the sexual integrity of the victim.

Emotional, verbal and psychological abuse

Usually a pattern of degrading or humiliating conduct towards the victim privately or publicly, including repeated insults, ridicule, name calling and/or repeated threats to cause emotional pain; or the repeated exhibition of obsessive possessiveness or jealousy, which is such as to constitute a serious invasion of the victim’s privacy, liberty, integrity and/or security.

Economic abuse

Includes the unreasonable deprivation of economic or financial resources to which the victim is entitled under law or requires out of necessity, including household necessities, mortgage bond repayments, rent money in the case of a shared residence, and/or the unreasonable disposal of household effects or other property in which the victim has an interest.


Uttering or conveying a threat, or causing a victim to receive a threat, which induces fear.


Engaging in a pattern of conduct that induces a fear of harm in the victim (complainant), including repeatedly watching the victim (complainant); loitering outside of or near the building/place where the victim (complainant) resides, works, carries out business, studies or happens to be; repeatedly making telephone calls or inducing another person to make telephone calls to the victim, whether or not conversation ensues; repeatedly sending, delivering or causing the delivery of letters, emails, texts, packages or other objects to the victim (complainant).


Stalking means the repeatedly following, pursuing, or accosting the victim (complainant).

Damage to property

Wilful damaging or destruction of property belonging to the victim(complainant) or in which the victim has a vested interest.

Any conduct that harms, or may cause imminent harm to, the safety, health or well being of the victim.


The Protection Order

The protection order

A protection order, also called a domestic violence interdict, is a court order that instructs an abuser to stop the abuse. It can also provide for financial assistance.
The protection order may also prevent the abuser from getting help from any other person to commit acts of domestic violence.

Steps to obtain a protection order

Steps to obtain a protection order

Any person may apply for a protection order at a Magistrates Court nearest to where you live and work, at any time, during and outside court hours as well as on public holidays or weekends.
You need to apply for the Interim Protection Order by completing Form 6: Interim Protection Order at your nearest Magistrate’s Court.

The application must be made by way of an affidavit which states the:

• facts on which the application is based
• nature of the order
• name of the police station where the complainant is likely to report any breach of the protection order.

The Protection from Harassment Act

The Protection from Harassment Act

The Protection from Harassment Act affords the victims of harassment an effective remedy against harassment.
If you are a victim of harassment, you may approach the magistrates' court in the area where you reside in terms of this Act to obtain a protection order against any person who is harassing you.

A person who breaches a protection order may be criminally charged and, if found guilty, held liable to a fine or imprisonment.

Process for getting a protection order

Process for getting a protection order

Step 1 – Statement under oath
At the magistrates court you will be given a prescribed form by the clerk of the court to complete under oath. The clerk of the court will assist you and explain the process and remind you of your right to lay criminal charges. You must support your application with a Founding Affidavit setting out the evidence of the harassment as well as affidavits from other people who have knowledge of the harassment. Your finalised commissioned application will be submitted to the court.
If you do not know who is harassing you, the court will, at this stage, direct the police to investigate and, if the harassment has occurred electronically, direct the service provider concerned to provide details of the perpetrator. The court may at this stage or at any stage of proceedings subpoena witnesses to come to court together with any documentation or objects that the court regards as being essential for its decision.

Step 2A- An interim order may be granted
If you believe that the perpetrator (whose identity is known to you) will attempt to avoid service of your application and if you are suffering harm or may suffer harm if an order is not granted immediately, the court has the discretion to issue an interim order.
If you are granted an interim order, the order will be served on the perpetrator by the clerk of the court, a sheriff or peace officer who will be informed of a day (not less than 10 days from the date of the order) when he/she may come to court to give reasons why the interim order should not be made a final order. The perpetrator may however come to court sooner to set aside the interim order if he/she gives you and the court twenty-four hours' notice. An interim order comes into effect as soon as it is brought to the attention of the perpetrator.

Step 2B - Service of the application (if an interim order is not granted)
Once your application has been submitted to the court and the identity and whereabouts of the perpetrator has been established, the court will direct that certified copies of your application be served on the perpetrator by the clerk of the court, a sheriff or peace officer. The perpetrator will be informed of a date when he/she may come to court and give reasons why a protection order should not be granted.

Step 3 - Issuing of a protection order and a warrant of arrest
If the perpetrator does not come to court on the date specified in the notice served on him/her a protection order will be granted if the court is satisfied that there is enough evidence that harassment has occurred. If the perpetrator comes to court to oppose the issuing of the protection order a hearing will be held and the court will consider any further affidavits as well as any oral evidence and the matter will go to trial. The court will grant a protection order to you after the hearing if it finds, on a balance of probabilities, that you have been harassed or are being harassed by the person named in your application. A warrant of arrest will be issued at the same time as the protection order. The warrant can be executed if the perpetrator breaches the court order.

You will be given a certified copy of the order and the original warrant of arrest. The clerk of the court will forward certified copies of the order and of the warrant of arrest to the police station of your choice. The protection order and the warrant remain in force for a period of five years.

Domestic violence is often thought to only include physical violence, but the acts, behaviour and consequences that make up domestic violence vary in nature and frequency. Domestic Violence is regulated by the Domestic Violence Act. This Act applies to violence that takes place in a domestic relationship.



A domestic relationship is defined as a relationship between the complainant and a Respondent in any of the following ways –

(a) They were married to each other, including a marriage according to any law, custom or religion;
(b) They ( whether they are of the same or opposite sex) live or loved together in a relationship in the nature of a marriage, although they are not, or were not, married to each other, or are not able to be married to each other;
(c) They are the parents of a child or are persons who have had or had parental responsibility for that child;
(d) They were or are engaged, dating or in a customary relationship, including an actual or perceived romantic, intimate or sexual relationship of any duration;
(e) They are family members related by adoption, consanguinity or affinity;
(f) They share or recently shared the same residence.



The following can be regarded as domestic violence:
1. Physical abuse
2. Emotional, verbal and psychological abuse;
3. Economic abuse;
4. Intimidation;
5. Harassment;
6. Stalking
7. Damage to property;
8. Entry into the complainant’s residence without consent, where the parties do not share the same residence;
9. Any other controlling or abusive behaviour towards a complainant,

Where such conduct harms, or may cause imminent harm to, the safety, health or wellbeing of the complainant.



For more information regarding domestic violence, please follow the link FAQ, you may have a question that has already been answered.


Domestic Violence Forms





Helpful Organisations

Yokhuselo Haven: A shelter for abused women and their children, situated in Port Elizabeth, the shelter offers short accommodation, counselling, -assistance to acquire protection Orders, Yokhuselo is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, open on weekends and holidays.
Contact Tell: 041 581 4310 \ 076 3127 730, Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Visit their website

FAMSA: Find your nearest FAMSA office:

Contact: 011 975 7101

e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit their website

Lifeline: 24-hour counselling services:

Contact: 0861 322 322.

People Opposing Women Abuse or POWA: counselling and legal support

Contact: 083 765 1235 or visit

Legal Aid South Africa offers legal assistance:

Contact: 0861 053 425 or visit

Rape Crisis: counselling to people who have been raped or sexually assaulted.

Contact: 011 642 4345.


Dial: 10111

University campus law clinics also offer legal assistance.


Google Map

Contact Us

Physical Address:

9 Bird Street, Central, Port Elizabeth

Office land line:

+27 (0) 41 582 5150

Mobile: Please contact our offices


Emergency Contacts


Yokhuselo Haven:
041 581 4310 \ 0763127730



SAPS  10111

Family Violence, Child Abuse, Sexual Offence
012 393 2363

CRIME STOP 0860 010 111

Women Abuse 0800 150 150

Childline 0800 055 555

AIDS Helpline 0800 012 322 / 011 725 6710

Rape Crisis at Dora Nginza 041 995 1037

NMU Psychology Clinic 041 504 2330

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