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Chapter 5:16

Domestic Violence Act

Act 14/2006




  1. Short title and date of commencement.
  2. Meaning of domestic violence and its scope.
  3. Offence of domestic violence and acts excluded from its scope. PART II


  1. Duties of police officers in relation to domestic violence.
  2. Arrest by police officer without warrant.



  1. Application for protection order.
  2. Determination of application.
  3. Issue of interim protection order.
  4. Issue of protection order.
  5. Contents of protection order.
  6. Application for revocation, variation or extension of protection orders.
  7. Issue of further copies of orders and warrants of arrest.
  8. Enforcement of protection orders.



  1. Anti-domestic violence counsellors.
  2. Anti-Domestic Violence Council.



  1. General provisions as to offences.
  2. Special jurisdiction of local courts.

AN Act to make provision for the protection and relief of victims of domestic violence and to provide for matters connected with or incidental to the foregoing.

[Date of commencement : 25th October, 2007]



1    Short title and date of commencement

This Act may be cited as the Domestic Violence Act [Chapter 5:16].

                       2    Interpretation

(1) In this Act—

“complainant”, in relation to a respondent, means—

  • a current, former or estranged spouse of the respondent; or
  • a child of the respondent, whether born in or out of wedlock, and includes an adopted child and a

step-child; or

  • any person who is or has been living with the respondent, whether related to the respondent or not; or
  • any person who—
  • cohabits with the respondent; or
  • is or has been in an intimate relationship with the respondent; who applies for a protection order or in respect of whom a protection order may be issued;

“complainant’s representative” means any one of the following persons who may make an application for a protection order on behalf of a complainant— (a) a police officer;

  • a social welfare officer;
  • an employer of the complainant; (d) a person acting on behalf of—
    • a church or other religious institution;
    • a private voluntary organisation concerned with the welfare of victims of domestic


(e)   a relative, neighbour or fellow employee of the complainant; (f)       a counsellor;

(g)   such other class of persons as the Minister may appoint by notice in a statutory instrument;

“court” means a magistrates court, the High Court and, for purposes of section 18, a local court;

“domestic violence” means violence as defined in section 3;

“Council” means the Anti-Domestic Violence Council established in terms of section 16;

“counsellor” means an anti-domestic violence counsellor appointed in terms of section 15;

“Minister” means the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs or any other Minister to whom the President may, from time to time, assign the administration of this Act;

“private voluntary organisation” means a private voluntary organisation registered in terms of the Private Voluntary Organisations Act [Chapter 17:05] or any other law that may be substituted for it;

“protection order” means an order issued in terms of section 10;

“respondent” means a person who is alleged to be the perpetrator of an actual or threatened act of domestic violence;

“social welfare officer” means a person registered as a social worker in terms of the Social Workers Act [Chapter 27:21] (No. 9 of 2001) or employed in any Ministry responsible for social welfare, health, child welfare or gender or women’s affairs.

                       3    Meaning of domestic violence and its scope

(1) For the purposes of this Act, domestic violence means any unlawful act, omission or behaviour which results in death or the direct infliction of physical, sexual or mental injury to any complainant by a respondent and includes the following— (a) physical abuse;

  • sexual abuse;
  • emotional, verbal and psychological abuse; ` (d) economic abuse;
  • intimidation;
  • harassment;
  • stalking;
  • malicious damage to property;
  • forcible entry into the complainant’s residence where the parties do not share the same residence;
  • depriving the complainant of or hindering the complainant from access to or a reasonable share of the use of the facilities associated with the complainant’s place of residence;
  • the unreasonable disposal of household effects or other property in which the complainant has an


  • abuse derived from the following cultural or customary rites or practices that discriminate against or degrade women—
    • forced virginity testing; or
    • female genital mutilation; or
    • pledging of women or girls for purposes of appeasing spirits; or
    • forced marriage; or
    • child marriage; or
    • forced wife inheritance; or
    • sexual intercourse between fathers-in-law and newly married daughters-in-law;
  • abuse perpetrated on the complainant by virtue of complainant’s age, or complainant’s physical or mental incapacity;
  • abuse perpetrated on the complainant by virtue of complainant’s physical, mental or sensory disability, including a visual, hearing or speech functional disability;
  • abuse perpetrated on the complainant by virtue of complainant’s mental illness, arrested or incomplete development of the mind, psychopathic disorder or any other disorder or disability of the mind;
  • any act of domestic violence described in paragraphs (a), (b), (c), (e), (f), (g), (h) or (i) when it is perpetrated on the person or property of the complainant’s representative..

(2) For the purposes of—

  • subsection (1)(a), “physical abuse” includes any act or threatened act of physical violence towards a complainant;
  • subsection (1)(b), “sexual abuse” includes any conduct that humiliates, degrades or otherwise violates the sexual integrity of the complainant;
  • subsection (1)(c), “emotional, verbal and psychological abuse” means a pattern of degrading or humiliating conduct towards a complainant, including but not limited to the following—
    • repeated insults, ridicule or name-calling; or
    • repeated threats to cause emotional pain; or
    • the repeated exhibition of obsessive possessivenes which is such as to constitute a serious invasion of the complainant’s privacy, liberty, integrity or security; or
    • any act, omission or behaviour constituting domestic violence as defined in subsection (1) which, when committed in the presence of minor members of the family, is likely to cause them mental injury;
  • subsection (1)(d), “economic abuse” includes—
    • the unreasonable deprivation of economic or financial resources to which a complainant is entitled under the law or which the complainant requires out of necessity, including household necessities, medical expenses, school fees, mortgage bond and rent payments, or other like expenses;
    • denying the complainant the right to seek employment or engage in any income-generating


  • subsection (1)(e), “harassment” means engaging in a pattern of conduct that induces in a complainant the fear of imminent harm or feelings of annoyance and aggravation, including—
    • watching or loitering outside or near the building or place where the complainant resides, works, carries on business, studies or happens to be;
    • repeatedly making or sending or causing another person to repeatedly make or send abusive phone calls or electronically-transmitted messages to the complainant, whether or not conversation ensues;
    • sending, delivering or causing the delivery of offensive or abusive letters, telegrams, packages, facsimiles, electronic mails or offensive objects to the complainant;
  • subsection (1)(f), “intimidation” includes uttering or conveying a threat or causing a complainant to receive a threat which induces a fear of imminent harm in the complainant;
  • subsection (1)(g), “stalking” includes following, pursuing, or accosting the complainant.

(3) For the purposes of subsection (2)(e) and (f) “imminent harm”, in relation to a complainant, includes harm that the complainant fears to be imminent taking into consideration the history of respondent’s known violent behaviour towards the complainant or other relevant factors.

                       4    Offence of domestic violence and acts excluded from its scope

  • Subject to subsection (2), any person who commits an act of domestic violence within the meaning of section 3 shall be guilty of an offence and liable to a fine not exceeding level fourteen or imprisonment for a period not exceeding ten years or to both such fine and such imprisonment.
  • The following acts of domestic violence shall not constitute an offence—
  • emotional, verbal and psychological abuse referred to in section 3(1)(c) and defined in section 3(2)(c)(i), (ii), (iii) and (iv); and
  • economic abuse referred to in section 3(1)(d) and defined in section 3(2)(d)(i) and (ii).





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