There are many people – both males and females – who should actually obtain Protection Orders but do not know that they can do this.
A variety of different situations constitute abuse and yet people endure them because they are not aware of their options.
People take power over others. They bully them into doing their bidding – often possibly without realising or caring that they are breaking the law and are treading a very fine line between being unlawful and being illegal.
Domestic Violence/Abuse is:
• any form of abusive or controlling behaviour where harm is caused to your health, safety or wellbeing
• physical, sexual, emotional, verbal, psychological or economic harassment/abuse
• damage to property
• entry onto/into your property without their consent – when you are not living together
Therefore, if your abuser is someone with whom you share a domestic relationship, it is your right to apply for a Protection Order. The Domestic Violence Act makes provision for this.
A Protection Order has certain conditions which state what the abuser is not allowed to do. If the abuser contravenes, breaks, or ignores these conditions, then he or she can be arrested. Further, if a criminal offence is included in the abuse, then a charge against the abuser can be laid with the Police.
To explain further, the term ‘domestic relationship’ means that you:
• Either were or are still married to each other, even if you don’t live together
• Could be same-sex partners, even if you don’t live together
• Either were or are engaged to be married, just dating, in a customary relationship, or in any other form of relationship wherein you are caused by the other party to believe it is of a romantic nature
• Were in a sexual relationship, even for a short time
• Are the parents of a child
• Recently or still do share the same home or residence.
It is important to understand that you are not laying a criminal charge against the abuser.
Many people do not know this and there is a possibility that in many instances, Protection Orders are not obtained because the party being abused feels that the abuse will intensify if they seek to legally protect themselves.
Yet, if you really are the victim of abuse and perhaps crimes have been committed against you of either common assault; assault with intention to inflict grievous bodily harm; indecent assault; rape; incest; attempted murder; malicious damage to property; aiming a firearm; and abuse of your animals; then you may choose not only to apply for a Protection Order but you are also within your rights to lay a criminal charge or even both.
When you have the Protection Order, if your abuser breaks any of the conditions therein, then that person has committed a crime and can be charge with contempt of court. Further, if the actual incident that caused them to break the conditions was a crime, then they can also be charge with both contempt of court and the crime itself.
Protection Orders level the ‘playing fields’ because they give the person being abused the power to have the person doing the abusing, arrested the moment they commit another act of abuse.
When the Protection Order is made final, it is then permanent and binding and can only be changed by applying to the Courts.
The Protection Order gives you protection from a variety of situations including:
• Your abuser must not commit any act of domestic abuse
• Your abuser must pay you rent, mortgage payments or other emergency money
• The Police must confiscate any firearms or dangerous weapons in your abuser's possession
• The Police must go with you and help you to collect your personal property