Every year, from November 25 to December 10, we observe 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children and here is some vital information to know.
As a woman living in South Africa, it has become important to protect ourselves and get educated on how to help each other. Each one teach one.
And, while many women are too scared to speak out because they either do not know what to do or have been abused so badly they think they do not have a way of protecting themselves. I am here to tell you that is not true.
The recent release of the crime statistics released by Police Minister Bheki Cele shows that violent crimes against women and children continue to be a pain in our society.
According to the latest numbers, a staggering 881 women and 293 children were killed during the period of July and September.
It further stated staggering 14,401 female victims were victims of assault and 1,514 were victims of attempted murder during this period.
Over 10,500 rapes were reported, and according to the SAPS, 4,726 rape incidents took place at either the home of the rape victim or the home of the perpetrator who is known to the victim, such as a family member, a friend or a neighbour.
What is a protection order?
A protection order is an order issued by a court ordering a person with whom one has or had a domestic relationship with to stop the abuse.
Children can also apply for protection and if the child is too young, a parent, guardian or anyone acting on behalf of the child may apply for permission for a protection order.
What does a protection order protect you from?
– Enlisting another person to commit any acts against you.
– Entering a residence shared by a complainant and the respondent or a specified part of the shared residence or the victim's place of employment or where the victim resides.
– Committing any act as outline in the protection order
– Financially threatening a complainant by making monetary relief available.
How do you apply for a protection order?
– Make an affidavit and complete an application form at a police station. If in a shared household, take note of the section ‘notice to complainant in a case of domestic violence’ which explains your rights and steps to take to protect yourself, children, and others.
– Have supporting affidavits of persons who have knowledge of the matter.
– Once completed, the documents need to be handed to the clerk at your nearest court. The court will consider the application immediately.
– A protection order is not limited to the complainant and can be brought on behalf of a complainant by any person who has an interest in the well-being of the complainant, and this can include a healthcare worker, counsellor, social worker, police officer, or teacher.
– Should the court be satisfied with the evidence, it would issue an interim protection order against the respondent.
– An application for an interim protection order can be brought at any time.
– The interim order is to provide immediate protection. A return date to which both parties will appear in court and after presenting their cases it is up to the court to decide to make the protection order final.
– Do note, the order has no effect until it has been served to the respondent.
– The court is also required to issue a suspended warrant of arrest for the respondent, meaning should the respondent breach the order, they must immediately be arrested by police.
– Should the respondent not appear in court on the return date, the court can make a final order on the day.
– If the protection order is breached, contact the police immediately.
It is important to note that a complainant may request the removal of the respondent’s firearm or any other dangerous weapons they may have. The firearm or weapon will be held in police custody until the case has been finalised. The items may only be returned to the respondent if the court orders this.
While in possession of a protection order, it is important to know you do not have to exhaust all avenues before filing criminal charges. Criminal charges can be filed without a protection order.
If you or anyone you know may need assistance, here are helpful numbers:
Gender-Based Violence Command Centre: Call 0800 428 428 or dial *120*7867#
Stop Gender Violence helpline: 0800 150 150
Report any abuse of children and women to the Department of Social Development on 0800 220 250.
LifeLine 24-hour crisis helpline: 0861 322 322
Rape Crisis Cape Town Trust counselling lines:
WhatsApp support line: 083 222 5164
English: 021 447 9762
isiXhosa: 021 361 9085
Afrikaans: 021 633 9229
Observatory Office: 021 447 1467
Athlone Office: 021 684 1180
Khayelitsha Office: 021 361 9228