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KNOW YOUR RIGHTS – How police officers must help you

The SAPS must inform domestic violence (DV) victims of their rights or give them the support they are obligated to provide them as per the Domestic Violence Act. Below is a list of some of the services you should expect from the SAPS when you report domestic violence.

By Jennilee Peremore    

The SAPS must inform domestic violence (DV) victims of their rights or give them the support they are obligated to provide them as per the Domestic Violence Act. Below is a list of some of the services you should expect from the SAPS when you report domestic violence.

A SAPS official must complete all relevant forms regarding your case
The Domestic Violence Act and National Instruction must be readily available for victims to view.
There must be a list of updated service providers readily available
The SAPS must properly file copies of your protection order/s and warrants of arrests.
SAPS officials must take witness statements.
Trained SAPS staff must deal with domestic violence cases
SAPS officials must advise victims of their rights – inform the victim that they can apply for a protection order or lay charges against the perpetrator.
SAPS officials must act with urgency to deliver interim protection orders on perpetrators.
SAPS officials have no choice but to arrest a perpetrator when presented with a warrant of arrest or where the abuser has contravened an interim protection order
SAPS officials must remove weapons used by the perpetrator
The SAPS must refer victims to shelters and keep updated records of available shelters and counselling services in the area where the victim (complainant) resides.
The SAPS must refer or accompany victims (if necessary) to seek medical attention. They must explain that the victim must complete a J88 form to prosecute cases of assault with grievous bodily harm. This way, victims can have medical proof that they were victims of violence. This proof prevents perpetrators from “being charged with lesser offences when prosecution takes place.”
For more information on the services, you should expect from SAPS officials, court clerks, prosecutors and magistrates when reporting domestic violence

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