If You Feel That You’re Being Harassed, Read This
If you feel as though you’re being harassed, you can apply for a protection order under the Protection from Harassment Act
What qualifies as harassment under the Act
Electronic communication such as e-mails or messages on social media platforms
Written communication such as letters
Sexual harassment is deined as ‘any unwelcome sexual attention from a person who knows or who reasonably knows that such attention is unwelcome’. This includes promises of a reward for sexual favours or punishment for refusing such requests.
Who can apply for a protection order
Anyone who believes they are being harassed can apply for a protection order.
Legal representation is not necessary – in other words, you can apply for an order for free.
Children under the age of 18 can apply without being accompanied by their parents.
If someone is unable to apply themselves, another person is able to apply for a protection order on their behalf.
If someone is harassing you online and you don’t know who they are, the Act allows for the court to request the details of this person from their service provider.
What it protects you from
Physical, mental, psychological and economic harm.
Protection available under the Act
A inal court order prohibits a person from harassing or enlisting the help of someone else to harass or commit any act in the protection order.
Not complying with a inal protection order is a criminal offence. So if the person who the protection order is against continues to harass the complainant, the police can immediately arrest them.
Where to get one
You can apply for a protection order under the Act at any magistrate’s court. Find your local one at Justice. gov.za/contact/ lowercourts_full. html or visit Legal-aid.co.za for free help and info.
How to apply for one
Complete an application form (download one from Justice.gov.za) and include:
The reasons why you’re seeking a protection order
Details of any incidents of harassment you have experienced
The specific acts committed by the person causing the harassment
A request for the court to provide the necessary protection.