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Protection Orders

The difference between protection and harassment: The Protection from Harassment Act and the Domestic Violence Act

The difference between protection and harassment

What is Harassment?

  • Any conduct whether direct/indirect
  • That the perpetrator knows or ought to know will cause mental, psychological, physical or economic harm
  • Harassment includes the following watching, pursuing, accosting (or related person), unreasonable verbal or electronic communication, sexual harassment

What is a Restraining Order?

  • If you have been a victim of abusive or threatening behaviour by someone other than a person living with you, or with whom you have a domestic relationship – this amounts to harassment
  • No pattern is needed, first offence suffices
  • No relationship is required
  • Can be against someone you don’t even know
  • No violence is required
  • Police are ordered to investigate if the order is granted against someone you do not know and application may take place in an open court
  • The order is binding for 5 years once granted
  • If the Applicant wishes to withdraw the application the court needs to satisfy itself with the fact that the circumstances have changed
  • Same punishment applies for persons who make such applications under false pretences

What is a Protection Order?

  • A court order granted by the Magistrate’s Court
  • Prohibits the perpetrator from engaging or attempting to engage in harassment or enlisting the help of another person to do so
  • Can be applied for on behalf of another person
  • You need not suffer harm before applying for a protection order
  • An interim order may be granted if urgent and after hours

For acts of domestic violence, the relief you can get is that of a protection order and in the alternative obtain a harassment order

  • A protection order is describes as being a form of a court order that requires a party to do or to refrain from doing certain acts. These orders flow from the court’s injunction power to grant equitable remedies in these situations
  • The form of domestic violence needs to include: physical, sexual, emotional or verbal violence
  • Violence need not be directed at the person who wants to make the application forms part of the Domestic Violence Act – violence between persons that live in the same house