Protection from Harassment Act

Everyone has heard of protection orders but the general misconception is that these are only for situations where there has been an instance of domestic violence. This is not so, a protection order can be claimed under two separate acts. You can rely on the Protection from Harassment Act or the Domestic Violence Act.

If you were married to the person who committed the offence, who we call the respondent, or lived with the person, share a child together, were engaged to or had an actual or perceived romantic, intimate or sexual relationship of any duration or the respondent is a member of your extended family, then you can apply for a protection order under the Domestic Violence Act.

If you have no underlying relationship with the respondent then you can rely on the Protection from Harassment Act. A complainant can be any person who alleges that he or she is being subjected to harassment – even if you have never met the respondent, this act applies.

So, if you feel that the messages from your ex are causing you mental, psychological, physical or economic harm you can apply for a protection order at your local magistrate or high court. An interim order is granted and then served on the respondent so that they have an opportunity to defend it. If the magistrate or judge finds that the original application has merit, the order will be made a final order of court, and should the respondent contravene the terms of the order they can be arrested immediately.

If you are feeling threatened stand up for yourself, and use the safeguards the law provides for. As they say, rather safe than sorry.

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