Court order gives victims of domestic violence protection

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Victims of domestic violence, whether physical or verbal, may not feel very comfortable speaking openly about what they are going through. This often makes it even more difficult for them to reach out for help.

Victims should know there is help readily available at magistrates’ courts and there is nothing to be ashamed of when speaking up for themselves.

The court assists victims in applying for a protection order against their abusers.

Victims can approach the magistrates’ court nearest to where they or the abuser live or work, or where the abuse has occurred.

Here is the process and steps to follow on how to apply for a protection order:

Step 1 – Go to your nearest magistrates’ court and fill in the protection order application form. You will write a sworn statement or affidavit about the abuse you endure. 

Step 2 – You write another sworn statement to the court clerk, confirming that which you have written about the abuse is true and you sign the application form.

Step 3 – The clerk signs and stamps your application form. He or she opens a file for you and puts your application and other papers into the file.

Step 4 – The clerk then hands your file to the magistrate, who reads your application form and decides whether you qualify for a temporary protection order.

Step 5 – The clerk informs you whether a temporary protection order has been granted or not.

Step 6 – Should the magistrate grant you a temporary protection order, the clerk will give you your application number and a return date for when you have to return to court.

Step 7 – The magistrate will issue a notice for the abuser to appear in court, informing him or her that an application for a protection order has been made and he or she must appear in court on the return date to give his or her side of the story.

Step 8 – The clerk puts the original application and temporary protection order forms into your file and gives you three copies. Two are for the police or for the sheriff; the other copy is for you to keep. If you lose your copy, you may ask the court or the police to make you an extra copy.

Step 9 – Once the notice has been served on the abuser, you are entitled to obtain a temporary warrant of arrest. You will need to get this from the clerk of the court where you applied for the protection order. The warrant can be enforced if the abuser goes against any of the conditions stated in the temporary protection order.
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