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Domestic Violence

The Domestic Violence Act defines domestic violence as:
“Physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional, verbal and psychological abuse, economic abuse, intimidation, harassment, stalking, damage to property, entry into the complainant’s residence without consent where the parties do not share the same residence, or 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.”

Who Can Apply for a Domestic Violence Interdict

An Application for a ‘Domestic Violence Interdict’ – also referred to as a ‘Protection Order’ or a ‘Restraining Order’. can be made by any person in a domestic relationship with the Respondent. This means that the person applying for such an order should:

  • be or have previously been married to the Respondent; or
  • currently live or have previously lived with the Respondent; or
  • be the parents of a child or have parental responsibilities and rights in respect of a child; or
  • be family members; or
  • be in a romantic relationship or share the same residence.


The Magistrate will consider the Application and should there be sufficient evidence that the Respondent is committing or has committed an act of domestic violence, or that the complainant may suffer undue hardship, the Court will issue an Interim Protection Order against the Respondent.

The Interim Protection Order must be served on the Respondent by a member of the South African Police Services. The Court will also indicate a date and time on the Interim Protection Order when both parties must return to Court to give reasons why the Interim Protection Order should or should not remain in place or be made final.

The relief that may be granted to the complainant includes:

  • prohibiting the Respondent from committing acts of domestic violence or enlisting the help of another to commit such acts;
  • prohibiting the Respondent from entering the Complainant’s residence or a specified part of the residence;
  • prohibiting the Respondent from entering the Complainant’s place of employment;
  • ordering a member of the SAPS to seize dangerous weapons from the Respondent;
  • ordering a member of the SAPS to assist the Complainant in retrieving movable goods from the shared residence;
  • ordering the Respondent to continue making payments such as rent, bond payments, school fees etc.;
  • granting emergency monetary relief to the Complainant.
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