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Understanding the Scope of Protection Orders in Domestic Relationships: Insights from the J.G v A.N Case


In the recent judgment of J.G v A.N (A3132/2021) delivered by the South Gauteng High Court on 26 January 2024, significant insights were offered into the application and interpretation of protection orders under the Domestic Violence Act 116 of 1998. This case notably delves into the complexities surrounding the definition of a ‘domestic relationship’ and the scope of a protection order within such a relationship.

Key Details of the Case:

  • Case Reference: J.G v A.N (A3132/2021)
  • Date of Judgment: 26 January 2024
  • Court: High Court of South Africa, Gauteng Division, Johannesburg


The case arose from an appeal against a magistrate’s order issuing a final protection order in favor of the respondent (A.N) against the appellant (J.G), under the Domestic Violence Act. The appellant challenged the order on the grounds that the relationship did not constitute a ‘domestic relationship’ as defined in the Act and contested the allegations made by the respondent.

Facts of the Case:

  • The appellant and respondent are siblings, with a history of alleged abuse and threats.
  • The respondent accused the appellant of various forms of abuse, including threats of violence and harassment.
  • The appellant denied these allegations, arguing the lack of a domestic relationship as defined in the Act.

Court’s Reasoning and Judgment:

  • The court examined the definition of a ‘domestic relationship’ under the Domestic Violence Act, which includes relationships between family members related by consanguinity.
  • It was determined that the conduct of the appellant fell within the ambit of verbal, emotional, or psychological abuse, harassment, and stalking as defined in the Act.
  • The court dismissed the appeal, upholding the magistrate’s order for a final protection order, emphasizing the Act’s role in protecting vulnerable individuals from domestic violence.

Memorable Quote from the Judgment:

The principal objective of granting an interdict (family or domestic violence) as the Constitutional Court pointed out, “is not to solve domestic problems or impose punishments, but to provide a breathing-space to enable solutions to be found; not to punish past misdeeds, but to prevent future misconduct. At its most optimistic, it seeks preventive rather than retributive justice, undertaken with a view ultimately to promoting restorative justice” – Par 21


Q1: What defines a ‘domestic relationship’ under the Domestic Violence Act? A1: A domestic relationship includes various forms, including relationships between family members related by blood, which was a crucial factor in the J.G v A.N case.

Q2: Can siblings be considered in a ‘domestic relationship’ for the purpose of the Act? A2: Yes, siblings can fall under the definition of a ‘domestic relationship’ as per the Act, especially when there are elements of abuse, harassment, or intimidation, as seen in J.G v A.N.

Q3: What types of behaviour constitute domestic violence under the Act? A3: Domestic violence includes physical abuse, emotional, verbal and psychological abuse, intimidation, harassment, stalking, and any other controlling or abusive behaviour that harms or may harm the safety, health, or wellbeing of the complainant.

Q4: What was significant about the J.G v A.N judgment? A4: The judgment highlighted the broad scope of the Act in encompassing various forms of domestic relationships and reaffirmed the Act’s purpose of providing protection to victims of domestic violence.

Q5: Can a final protection order be challenged? A5: Yes, a final protection order can be appealed in a higher court, as seen in J.G v A.N. However, the appellant must present substantial grounds for the challenge.

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