‘Stop making false abuse claims’

2017-01-31 06:02

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Misusing a protection order not only wastes the court’s time, it also takes the time of police officers who need to focus on serious cases of domestic violence.

This is the sentiment of local officers following an increase in false reports of domestic violence.

Sergeant Cathy Meyer, Lentegeur police spokesperson, says this policing cluster, which includes Mitchell’s Plain, Lentegeur, Athlone, Philippi, Grassy Park, Steenberg, Strandfontein and Lansdowne police stations, has seen an increase in reports of domestic violence that are later withdrawn at court.

“We have a problem with domestic violence cases in the cluster where people are opening cases. Some are not relevant cases where they are using it to their advantage and the people who really need it are not reporting,” says Meyer.

Meyer says people misuse the protection order issued by the court in cases of domestic violence.

“People know that the protection order comes with a warrant of arrest so people go to the court and lie to the court,” she says.

Often this is used for revenge.

“When the husband finds out that his wife has taken out a protection order, he goes and makes a case as well to get her back.”

This then results in both of them being arrested.

In other cases, she says they would use the interdict to have free time or go out.

Residents are urged to not make fake claims as it keeps police from focussing on serious cases.

“The court sees domestic violence as a serious offence. And when they are both locked up they tell the truth but by then it is too late,” she says.

“Following an increase in cases being made and withdrawn, the station management has made a rule that they are no longer allowing cases to be withdrawn. The matter will go to court and the magistrate must decide.”

This means that should it be proven that a case was made with false pretences, the offender could be found in contempt of court and charged with perjury which can lead to a R5000 fine or up to five years in prison.

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