22 December 2017

Namibia: All-Hours Domestic Violence Protection Available

DEDICATED court teams will be available over the rest of December and up to the middle of January to assist people who want to obtain urgent interim court orders to be protected from domestic violence.

With the scourge of domestic violence heightened by the abuse of alcohol and other substances over the festive season, the Namibian Police and the Office of the Judiciary have launched a countrywide pilot project to have urgent interim protection orders available to people facing the threat of domestic violence over the last days of December and the first half of January, the Office of the Judiciary announced this week.

"Substance abuse has a devastating effect on those most vulnerable in society and at times it is fatal. Hence, a dedicated court team has been identified and is available to assist any victim of such domestic or gender-based violence outside of the normal court day, at the respective courts in the country," the judiciary's head of public relations, Yvette Hüsselmann, stated.

People facing the threat of domestic violence can apply for a protection order after hours or over weekends and on holidays by going to a police station, from where the clerk of the nearest magistrate court would then be contacted to convene a court team on duty to help with the issuing of such an order, Hüsselmann said yesterday. The service should be available at magistrate courts countrywide from 18 December to 15 January.

In terms of the Combating of Domestic Violence Act, domestic violence includes physical abuse like assault or any use of physical force against a complainant, sexual abuse, intimidation, harassment, and emotional, verbal or psychological abuse that take place in a domestic relationship, which includes marriage, a romantic or intimate relationship between people of different sexes, and situations in which people have a child together.

The act states that a protection order must restrain the person accused of domestic violence from subjecting the complainant to such violence, may direct that the person has to surrender firearms or other weapons to the police, may forbid contact between the accused person and the complainant, and may direct that the person who has been responsible for domestic violence should leave a residence shared with a complainant or rent or arrange alternative accommodation for the complainant.

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