Here are some things you should know about family violence and obtaining a Personal Protection Order (PPO):
What is “Family Violence”?
- Family Violence is defined in the Women’s Charter as one of the following acts:
- Wilfully or knowingly placing, or attempting to place a family member in fear of hurt
- Causing hurt to a family member by such act which is known or ought to have been known would result in hurt
- Wrongfully confining or restraining a family member against his will
- Causing continual harassment with intent to cause or knowing that it is likely to cause anguish to a family member
- This does not include any force lawfully used in selfdefence, or by way of correction towards a child below 21 years of age
- The following persons are considered to be family members:
- Spouse or former spouse of the person;
- Child of the person in question, including an adopted child and a stepchild;
- Father or mother of the person in question;
- Fatherinlaw or motherinlaw of the person in question;
- Brother or sister of the person in question; or
- Any other relative of the person in question
- Any other person whom the Court feels should be regarded as a member of the family because of the person’s incapacity, physical or mental disability, illhealth or old age
What is a Personal Protection Order (PPO)?
- A Personal Protection Order (PPO) is an Order issued by the Court which restrains (i.e. prohibits) a person from using family violence against a family member
- A breach of a Personal Protection Order (PPO) is a criminal offence under section 65(8) of the Women’s Charter and a person guilty of committing such an offence is liable to be punished with a fine of up to $2,000 and/or up to 6 months’ imprisonment. Repeat offenders will be liable for enhanced (i.e. more severe) punishment of a fine of up to $5,000 and/or up to 12 months’ imprisonment.
How do you obtain a Personal Protection Order (PPO)?
- You may apply for a Personal Protection Order (PPO) at the F amily Justice Courts o n your own and without engaging a lawyer.
- You will need to understand and fulfill the formal requirements of conducting the case on your own (e.g. file / submit documents to Court the correct format, pay filing / administrative fees, speaking and providing information in Court)
- As the Family Justice Courts will not provide you with any advice on what you should do, you would need to consult a qualified lawyer if you wish to obtain legal advice on the strengths and weaknesses of your case. Th e lawyer can also help by preparing the necessary documents on and appearing in Court on your behalf.
- A Personal Protection Order (PPO)i s obtained by formally submitting documents and information to the Court to address the following issues:
- Proving that family violence has been committed or is likely to be committed against you
- Proving that the PPO is necessary to protect you
- The Court has the discretion to decide on how long a Personal Protection Order (PPO) should last
- The Personal Protection Order (PPO) will last for an indefinite period (i.e. without an expiration date) if the Court does not specify a particular period of duration.
- The offender (or respondent) against whom a Personal Protection Order (PPO) has been issued may apply to the Court to review the terms of the PPO or to revoke (i.e. cancel) the PPO.
What other Orders can the Court make?
- When a PPO is applied for or issued, the Court may also make the following Orders:
- Counselling Order: This which requires the parties to undergo mandatory / compulsory counselling sessions under the Mandatory Counselling Programme administered by the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF)
- Failure to comply with a Counselling Order attend counselling sessions is considered an act that is in contempt of Court (and which may be punished with a financial penalty or imprisonment)
- The main aims of the Mandatory Counselling Programme are:
- To educate the parties on how to resolve conflicts and behave appropriately towards one another
- To prevent and end the family violence
- To provide victims of family violence with a source of support and assistance
- Expedited Order (EO): This is a shortterm PPO that is granted on an urgent basis without a full trial being conducted in Court (i.e. without evidence being formally admitted through witnesses for the Court’s consideration)
- The applicant must show that there is imminent danger (i.e. that family violence is about to be committed)
- The Expedited Order (EO) lasts for 28 days and may be extended by the Court
- Domestic Exclusion Order (DEO): This requires the offender to leave the applicant’s home or prohibits (i.e. disallows) the offender from entering the applicant’s home or any part of the home
- The Domestic Exclusion Order (DEO) only restricts the offender’s right to reside in the home and does not affect the offender’s ownership of the home
- A Domestic Exclusion Order (DEO) will be issued if the Court feels that it is necessary for protection or personal safety of you or other family members
- The Court may make give other directions / instructions to ensure that the Court’s Orders are capable of being carried out