When you start a family and have a child you’re silently making a promise to protect them from any harm. Obviously, in an ideal world you would only have to protect your child from scraped knees and the flu. But, unfortunately we don’t live in that world and there are people out there that you need to protect your children against. If your child is being harassed or abused in any way, it is your responsibility to protect them from it.
That’s why protection orders exist. A protection order can protect a child against another person who has harassed or abused that child. This person is also known as the perpetrator or respondent.
According to SDF Attorneys, “A protection order can be granted against any person who engages themselves with harassment, even if the perpetrator is a child who can understand and appreciate the consequences of his/her actions. As long as the child is capable of appreciating the consequences and who knew or ought to know that the conduct was harmful.
“People are of the opinion that if you are not involved in a domestic relationship with the perpetrator that you are unable to get a protection order. This position has changed and you are able to get a protection order against a perpetrator even although you are not in a domestic relationship with that person.”
This means, that if your child is being harassed, you can take the matter to court as long the perpetrator in question understands what they are doing and the consequences of the act. In these situations it’s always advisable to seek legal advice and representation.
According to the South African Police Services, a protection order (with regards to protecting a child) prevents the respondent from “Having contact with a child or children, if it is in the best interest of the child.” The respondent is also banned from entering the victim’s residence or place of employment (with regards to an adult). The ultimate aim of a protection order is to prevent the respondent from committing any act of abuse or harassment, such as sexual harassment.
If your child or anyone in your family is being harassed or abused in any way, you have the right to apply for a protection order. You can make an affidavit and fill in an application form at any local police station. It’s advisable to add an affidavit from any witnesses or people who have first-hand knowledge of the incident or incidents in question. Once you have gathered and completed all the necessary documents, you need to submit them to a clerk at the nearest Magistrate’s Court. The Magistrate’s Court will immediately review the application and information. Criminal charges can also be laid against the respondent at the police station.