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Your minor child can obtain a protection order against you

30 May 2024




Fighting parents be warned, your minor child can obtain a Protection Order against you for exposing them to domestic violence.

 

This is some of the new provisions in the Domestic Violence Amendment Act that Adv. Salome Scheepers, Senior State Advocate at the Sexual Offence and Community Affairs Unit (SOCA) of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), explained to members of MISA, the Motor Industry Staff Association.

 

Scheepers is the Portfolio Manager for domestic violence and presented the first session of the Union’s Webinar Series to educate and raise awareness during national Child Protection Week.

 

According to Scheepers domestic violence and gender-based violence is a plague of our modern world.

 

The Amendment Act makes it an offense for children to witness or listen to domestic violence.

 

“Research have shown there are lasting effects to the exposure or witnessing of domestic violence. Girls becoming victims, while boys become the perpetrators.”

 

Scheepers referred to a Constitutional Court judgement that dealt with domestic violence.

 

“All crimes have harsh effects on society. What distinguishes domestic violence is its hidden, repetitive character and its immeasurable ripple effects on our society and on family life. It cuts across class, race, culture and geography, and all the more pernicious because it is so often concealed and so frequently goes unpunished,” the Court ruled.

 

According the Scheepers the description of domestic violence in the Amendment Act is quite right. “It allows for a child under 18 to apply for a Protection Order without the consent or assistance of an adult.

 

“It places a legal obligation on any person who is aware that a child is exposed to domestic violence, to apply for a Protection Order on behalf of the child, with the consent of the child.”

 

She acknowledged that children can also be the perpetrators of domestic violence towards adults, hence education is key.

 

Scheepers says SOCA wants to raise as much awareness possible about all gender-based violence related issues. “Awareness is needed to ensure that victims can overcome their fears of the stigma and embarrassment of domestic violence and to report the first time there is an incident. There is help and together we can break the cycle of abuse and prevent femicide.

 

The NPA oversees 64 Thuthuzela Care Centres (TCCs) nationwide. Scheepers says these centres are one-stop facilities aimed to reduce secondary victimisation and to build a case ready for successful prosecution.

 

Victims have access to officials of the Department of Health, Social Development, South African Police Services and the NPA, free of charge. Most of these centres are open 24/7.

 

Martlé Keyter, MISA’s Chief Executive Officer: Operations, says the Union decided to support SOCA’s projects throughout 2024 as part of its social responsibility to adhere to the call of National Child Protection Week.

 

“#MISA’s Webinar Series emanates from the theme “every conversation matters”. I believe child protection is a conversation every South African should have 365 days a year and not only for one week,” says Keyter.

 

She thanked Adv. Bonnie Currie-Gamwo, Special Director of Public Prosecutions of the SOCA Unit and her team for walking the extra mile and leaving no stone unturned to help victims of this pandemic.

 

Click on the link below to listen to the Webinar: https://youtu.be/BKEk90ZUhVI

 

Issued by Sonja Carstens, Manager of MISA's Media & Communication Department, on behalf of the Union.

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