Special courts can now issue protection orders after hours

Domestic violence, as well as gender-based violence, is expected to be dealt a severe blow this festive season with special after-hours domestic violence courts that will be operational until 15 January 2018. The Office of the Judiciary announced this week all police stations countrywide are working with all magistrate’s courts to assist victims of abuse to obtain interim protection orders against their perpetrators.
Alcohol and drug abuse during the festive season increases the prevalence of domestic violence and gender-based violence. Often, these incidents lead to loss of life, severe injuries and families emotionally distressed.
Namibia’s Chief Justice, Judge Peter Shivute, pioneered the special project whereby after-hours domestic violent courts be instituted countrywide. In a media advisory this week the Office of the Judiciary said the following: “The Office of the Judiciary hereby announces that a Pilot Project for
the facilitation of urgent interim protection orders during the festive season is currently underway, countrywide. This special project is a collaboration between the Office of the Judiciary and
the Namibian Police Force. The scourge of Gender Based and Domestic Violence in the Namibian society prompted His Lordship, Peter S. Shivute, the Chief Justice of the Republic of Namibia to avail such a service to those who fall victim to it. During the Festive Season this scourge is heightened by the use and abuse of alcohol and other substances. The influence of substance abuse has a devastating effect on those most vulnerable in society and at times 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. Victims of such violence are hereby informed that they may apply for immediate relief by obtaining an interim protection order provided that the legal requirements are met. The Namibian Police Force Officers are ready to respond to such complaints at the respective Police Stations. Thus, the citizenry and the public at large are hereby notified that such service is available during weekends and on Public Holidays as from Monday, 18 December 2017 till Monday, 15 January 2018”.
In a telephonic interview this week the Chief Public Relations Officer of the Office of the Judiciary Yvette Hüsselmann explained the practical process. In the event of a person falling victim to domestic- or gender-based violence the person need to report the incident to their nearest police station. Police officials will take an affidavit to determine the circumstances.
Once satisfied that the evidence is adequate, the Clerk of the Criminal Court at the magistrate’s office with the jurisdiction to deal with the matter is contacted. A magistrate is available at all hours to hear the case and issue an interim protection order which will compel the perpetrator to stay away from the victim and/or to refrain from any further violent behaviour. Violating an interim protection order will lead to the arrest and prosecution of the perpetrator.

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