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Protection from Harassment Act

On 27 April 2013 the Protection From Harassment Act (Act 17 of 2011) can into effect. This legislation provides the victims of harassment with an effective remedy against such conduct. It allows for the issuing of protection orders against the perpetrator (even if their identity is not known), empowers the Court to order the police to investigate and trace the perpetrator, and streamlines the process of obtaining information from communication service providers that might relate to electronic or cyberharassment.

A broader definition of harassment

Previously, protection orders were only available in terms of the Domestic Abuse Act. In other words, the harassment had to be perpetrated by a person with whom the victim had a relationship. The Protection from Harassment Act not only widened the scope of protection to include harassment by any person, it broadened the definition of harassment to include things like cyberharassment that weren’t contemplated under previous legislation.

In terms of section 1 of the Act, ‘harassment’ is defined as “either directly or indirectly engaging in conduct that the harasser knows or ought to know :

(a)causes harm or inspires the reasonable belief that harm may be caused to the complainant or a related person by unreasonably-
(i)following, watching. pursuing or accosting of the complainant or a related person, or loitering outside of or near the building or place where the complainant or a related person resides, works, carries on business, studies or happens to be;
(ii)engaging in verbal, electronic or any other communication aimed at the complainant or a related person, by any means, whether or not conversation ensues; or
(iii)sending, delivering or causing the delivery of letters, telegrams, packages, facsimiles, electronic mail or other objects to the complainant or a related person or leaving them where they will be found by, given to or brought to the attention of, the complainant or a related person; or
(b)amounts to sexual harassment of the complainant or a related person.

A copy of the act is available from http://www.justice.gov.za/legislation/notices/2013/2013-04-12-gg36357-nor09-act17-2011.pdf

J37 / Form 1Information notice to complainant or person who applies for protection order on behalf of complainant Regulation 2
J59 / Form 2Application for protection order Regulation 3
J62 / Form 3Interim protection order Regulation 4
J72 / Form 4Notice to respondent to show cause Regulation 5
J74 / Form 5Direction to electronic communications service provider to furnish information to court Regulation 7
J75 / Form 6Affidavit by electronic communications service provider to furnish information to court Regulation 8(3)
J77 / Form 7Application by electronic communications service provider for extension of period within which information must be provided to court or cancellation of directionRegulation 9
J80 / Form 8Request for additional evidence by way of affidavit from electronic communications service provider Regulation 10(1)
J81 / Form 9Affidavit by electronic communications service provider to furnish additional evidence to court Regulation 10(4)
J89 / Form 10Decision of court Regulation 11
J92 / Form 11Direction to station commander to investigate complaint of harassment in order to determine name and address or any other information which may be required to identify or trace respondentRegulation 13
J100 / Form 12Affidavit by member of South African Police Service to furnish information to court Regulation 14
J103 / Form 13Application by station commander for extension of period within which information must be provided to court or cancellation of directionRegulation 15
J118 / Form 14Request for additional evidence Regulation 16(1)
J120 / Form 15Affidavit by station commander to furnish additional information to court Regulation 16(4)
J121 / Form 16Decision of court Regulation 17
J122 / Form 17Affidavit by member of South African Police Service to furnish information to court Regulation 18
J134 / Form 18Subpoena Regulation 19
J135 / Form 19Final protection order Regulation 20(1)
J150 / Form 20Warrant of arrest Regulation 22
J154 / Form 21Affidavit for purposes of further warrant of arrest Regulation 23
J169 / Form 22Affidavit regarding contravention of protection order Regulation 24
J186 / Form 23Written notice to appear before court Regulation 25
J240 / Form 24Application for variation or setting aside of protection order Regulation 26
J309 / Form 25Notice of variation or setting aside of protection order Regulation 27
J311 / Form 26Statement to be completed by person who serves, files or forwards document by facsimile Regulation 29