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DOMESTIC VIOLENCE ACT.

ARRANGEMENT OF SECTIONS.

   Section

PART I
PRELIMINARY.

   1.   Commencement.

   2.   Interpretation.

   3.   Domestic relationships.

PART II
CONTROL OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE.

   4.   Prohibition of domestic violence.

   5.   Consent not a defence in domestic violence.

   6.   Proceedings in local council courts.

   7.   Duties of police officers.

   8.   Duties of a practitioner.

   9.   Jurisdiction of magistrates courts.

   10.   Application for a protection order.

   11.   Issue of interim protection order.

   12.   Issue of protection order.

   13.   Contents of protection order.

   14.   Application for variation, revocation or discharge of orders.

   15.   Issue of copies of orders.

   16.   Enforcement of orders.

   17.   Jurisdiction of family and children court in relation to domestic violence.

PART III
MISCELLANEOUS

   18.   Appeals.

   19.   Regulations.

   20.   Amendment of Schedules.

      First Schedule   Currency point.

      Second Schedule   Guiding Principles for Determining Compensation.

      Third Schedule   Forms.

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE ACT.

Commencement: 29 April, 2011.

   An Act to provide for the protection and relief of victims of domestic violence; to provide for the punishment of perpetrators of domestic violence; to provide for the procedure and guidelines to be followed by the court in relation to the protection and compensation of victims of domestic violence; to provide for the jurisdiction of court; to provide for the enforcement of orders made by the court; to empower the family and children court to handle cases of domestic violence and for related matters.

PART I
PRELIMINARY.

1.   Commencement.

   This Act shall come into force on a date appointed by the Minister by statutory instrument

2.   Interpretation.

In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires—

   "court" means a magistrates court, a local council court or a family and children court;

   "currency point" means the value of a currency point specified in the First Schedule;

   "domestic relationship" means a relationship defined in section 3;

   "domestic violence" constitutes any act or omission of a perpetrator which—

   (a)   harms, injures or endangers the health, safety, life, limb or well being, whether mental or physical, of the victim or tends to do so and includes causing physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional, verbal and psychological abuse and economic abuse;

   (b)   harasses, harms, injures or endangers the victim with a view to coercing him or her or any other person related to him or her to meet any unlawful demand for any property or valuable security;

   (c)   has the effect of threatening the victim or any person related to the victim by any conduct mentioned in paragraph (a) or (b); or

   (d)   otherwise injures or causes harm, whether physical or mental, to the victim;

   "economic abuse" includes—

   (a)   deprivation of all or any economic or financial resources to which the victim is entitled under any law or custom, whether payable under an order of a court or otherwise or which the victim requires out of necessity including, but not limited to—

      (i)   household necessities for the victim and his or her children, if any;

      (ii)   property, jointly or separately owned by the victim; or

      (iii)   payment of rent related to the shared household and maintenance;

   (b)   disposal of household effects, alienation of assets whether movable or immovable, shares, securities, bonds or similar assets or property in which the victim has an interest or is entitled to use by virtue of the domestic relationship or which may be reasonably required by the victim or his or her children or any other property jointly owned or separately held by the victim; and

   (c)   prohibiting or restricting access to resources or facilities which the victim is entitled to use or enjoy by virtue of the domestic relationship, including access to the shared household;

   "emotional, verbal and psychological abuse" means a pattern of degrading or humiliating conduct towards a victim, including but not limited to—

   (a)   repeated insults, ridicule or name-calling;

   (b)   repeated threats to cause emotional pain;

   (c)   the repeated exhibition of possessiveness or jealousy which is such as to constitute a serious invasion of the victim's privacy, liberty, integrity or security;

   (d)   any act or behaviour constituting domestic violence within the meaning of this Act where it is committed in the presence of a minor member of the family and which is considered as abuse against the minor member and likely to cause him or her injury;

   "harass" means engaging in a pattern of conduct that induces fear of harm, annoyance and aggravation with the intention of inducing fear in a person including—

   (a)   repeatedly watching or loitering outside of or near the building where the victim resides, works, carries on business, studies or happens to be;

   (b)   repeatedly making abusive telephone calls or causing another person to make abusive telephone calls to the victim, whether or not a conversation ensues;

   (c)   repeatedly sending, delivering or causing the delivery of offensive or abusive letters, telegrams, packages, facsimiles, electronic mail, telephone text messages or similar objects to the victim; or

   (d)   repeatedly following, pursuing or accosting the victim with the intention of inducing fear, harm, annoyance or aggravation to the victim;

   "intimidation" means uttering a threat or causing a victim to receive a threat, which induces fear;

   "Minister" means the Minister responsible for Gender, Labour and Social Development;

   "perpetrator" means a person who is alleged to commit an actual or threatened act of domestic violence;

   "physical abuse" means any act or conduct which is of such a nature as to cause bodily pain, harm or danger to life, limb, or health or which impairs the health or development of the victim; and includes assault, criminal intimidation and criminal force;

   "practitioner" means a person registered under section 21 of the Medical and Dental Practitioners Act to practise medicine, surgery or dentistry and includes a clinical officer;

   "protection order" means a court order prohibiting domestic violence, restricting a person from harassing or threatening another person or restraining a person from contacting or approaching another person;

   "sexual abuse" includes any conduct of a sexual nature that abuses, humiliates, degrades or otherwise violates the dignity of another person;

   "victim" means a person in a domestic relationship who directly or indirectly suffers threatened or actual domestic violence.

3.   Domestic relationships.

   (1) A domestic relationship means a family relationship, a relationship similar to a family relationship or a relationship in a domestic setting that exists or existed between a victim and a perpetrator and includes a relationship where—

   (a)   the victim is or has been married to the perpetrator;

   (b)   the perpetrator and the victim are family members related by consanguinity, affinity or kinship;

   (c)   the perpetrator and the victim share or shared the same residence;

   (d)   the victim is employed by the perpetrator as a domestic worker or house servant and the victim does or does not reside with the perpetrator;

   (e)   the victim is an employer of the perpetrator and does or does not reside with the perpetrator; or

   (f)   the victim is or was in a relationship determined by the court to be a domestic relationship.

   (2) A court shall, in making a determination under subsection (1)(f), have regard to—

   (a)   the legal nature of the relationship;

   (b)   the amount of time the persons spend together;

   (c)   the place where the time is ordinarily spent;

   (d)   the manner in which that time is spent; and

   (e)   other than in the case of paragraph (a), the duration of the relationship.

PART II
CONTROL OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE.

4.   Prohibition of domestic violence.

   (1) A person in a domestic relationship shall not engage in domestic violence.

   (2) A person in a domestic relationship who engages in domestic violence commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding 48 currency points or imprisonment not exceeding two years or to both.

   (3) The court may, in addition to imposing a fine or imprisonment, order the offender in a case of domestic violence to pay compensation to the victim of an amount determined by the court.

   (4) In determining the compensation under subsection (3), the court shall be guided by the principles in the Second Schedule.

5.   Consent not a defence in domestic violence.

   The consent of the victim shall not be a defence to a charge of domestic violence under this Act.

6.   Proceedings in local council courts.

   (1) A complaint of

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