Domestic Violence Act, 2019
Act 21 of 2020
- Published in Supplement to Official Gazette 58 on 15 June 2020
- Assented to on 9 June 2020
- Not commenced
- [This is the version of this document from 15 June 2020.]
Part I – Preliminary
1. Short titleThis Act may be cited as the Domestic Violence Act, 2019 and shall come into operation on such date as the Minister may, by notice published in the Gazette, appoint.
2. InterpretationIn this Act, unless the context otherwise requires—“aggrieved person” means a person who alleges to have been subjected to an act of domestic violence;“coerce” means to compel a person by force or threat to do, or refrain from doing, something;“Court” means a Magistrates' Court as defined in the Courts Act (Cap 52);“Director of Social Services” means the person for the time being acting in the capacity, or performing the functions, of head of the division responsible for Social Affairs in the Ministry or department responsible for Family Affairs and includes such other officers authorised by the director;“domestic violence” has the meaning given to it in section 3;“domestic violence offence” means an offence specified under section 27;“domestic relationship” has the meaning given to it in section 4;“economic abuse” includes—(a)unreasonably depriving a person of any economic or financial resources to which that person, or a family member or dependent of that person, is entitled under any law, or requires out of necessity or has a reasonable expectation of use, including household necessities and repayment of housing loans secured by any form of security or rent payments in respect of a shared residence;(b)unreasonably disposing of moveable or immovable property including household effects, in which a person, or a family member or dependent of that person, has an interest or a reasonable expectation of use;(c)destroying or damaging property in which a person, or a family member or a dependent of that person, has an interest or a reasonable expectation of use; or(d)hiding or hindering the use of property in which a person, or a family member or dependent of that person, has an interest or a reasonable expectation of use;(e)preventing a person in domestic relationship, by reason of obsessive possessiveness or jealousy, from engaging or undertaking in meaningful economic activities;“emotional, verbal or psychological abuse”—(a)means conduct towards a person that—(i)torments, frightens, intimidates, harasses, degrades, humiliates or is offensive to the person, or a family member or dependent of that person;(ii)makes the person, or a family member or dependent of that person, feel constantly unhappy, miserable, ridiculed, depressed, inadequate or worthless;(iii)deprives the person, or a family member or dependent of that person, of privacy, liberty, integrity or security; and(b)includes—(i)verbal abuse, insults, ridicule or name calling;(ii)threats to cause emotional pain so as to torment, intimidate or frighten the person to whom the threat is directed;(iii)exhibition of obsessive possessiveness or jealousy, which is such as to constitute a serious invasion of the liberty, integrity or security of that person or a family member or dependent of that person;“engaged” means engaged to be married and includes an engagement or betrothal under cultural or religious tradition;“harassment” means—(a)repeatedly following, pursuing or accosting a person, a family member or dependent of that person and includes watching, or loitering outside or near such person's residence, school, workplace, place of business or other place where such person happens to be;(b)making persistent unwelcome communication with a person, a family member or dependent of that person and includes—(i)repeatedly making telephone calls or inducing another person to make telephone calls to the person, whether or not conversation ensues;(ii)repeatedly sending, delivering or causing to be sent or delivered any letter, telegram, package, facsimile, electronic mail, social media message or post, or other object or message to the person's residence, school, workplace or place of business or any other place;(c)engaging in any other menacing behaviour;“interim protection order” means an interim protection order made under section 13, pending the final determination of an application for a protection order;“institution” means a Government institution or private sector institution or a civil society organisation;“intimidation” means intentionally inducing fear in a person by—(a)engaging or threatening to engage in conduct that harms or is likely to cause harm to the safety, health or wellbeing of that person, or a family member or dependent of that person;(b)threatening to harm oneself;(c)causing or threatening to cause the death of, or injury to, an animal, whether or not the animal belongs to the person to whom the threat is directed;(d)threatening to damage, destroy or dispose of property belonging to the person, or a family member or dependent of that person, or in which that person or another person has a material interest;(e)exhibiting a weapon before the person; or(f)engaging in any other menacing behaviour, including sending, delivering or causing to be sent or delivered an item which implies menacing behaviour;“Minister” means the Minister responsible for Family Affairs;“physical abuse” means physical assault or use of physical force against a person whether such assault or the use of such force results in physical injury or not, and includes—(a)the forcible confinement or detention of a person;(b)the deprivation of a person of access to adequate food, water, clothing, shelter or rest;(c)subjecting a person to torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment;“prescribed” means prescribed by regulations made under this Act;“protection order” means a protection order made by the Tribunal under section 16 or by a Court under section 17;“respondent” means a person against whom a protection order is sought or is in force;“school” includes an educational institution or other institution or place where a person studies or undergoes vocational training or apprenticeship;“Secretary of the Tribunal” means the Secretary of the Tribunal appointed under section 78(6) of the Children Act (Cap 28);“Social Services” means a department in the Ministry responsible for Family Affairs;“sexual abuse” means conduct towards a person that abuses, humiliates, degrades or otherwise violates the sexual integrity of that person, whether or not the person is married to the person engaging in such conduct, and includes—(a)engaging in any such conduct with a person or with another person with whom that person has emotional ties;(b)coercing or forcing a person or another person with whom that person has emotional ties to engage in any sexual contact;(c)exposing a person to sexual material which humiliates, degrades or violates that person's sexual integrity;“sexual harassment” means repeatedly making unwanted sexual advances towards a person;“Tribunal” means the Family Tribunal established by section 77 of the Children Act (Cap 28);“unauthorised surveillance” of a person, means the unreasonable monitoring or tracking of that person's movements, activities or interpersonal associations without that person's consent, including by using technology.
3. Definition of domestic violence
4. Definition of domestic relationship
Part II – Complaints and duties of police officers
5. Duty to assist aggrieved persons
6. Information to police officer
7. Police officer to act promptlyA police officer shall respond promptly to a request by any person for assistance from domestic violence and shall offer such protection as the circumstances of the case or the person who made the report require, even when the person reporting is not the aggrieved person.
8. Filing of complaint with police
9. Procedure after receipt of complaint by police
10. Arrest by police officerA police officer may, without a warrant, arrest a person where the police officer has reasonable grounds to believe that the person—
11. Withdrawal of complaints of domestic violence by aggrieved persons
Part III – Protection orders
12. Application for protection order
13. Interim protection order
14. Conduct of proceedings
15. Matters to be taken into consideration in application for protection orderIn considering an application for a protection order and the terms of the protection order, the Tribunal shall have regard to—
16. Issue of protection order
17. Court in criminal proceeding may issue protection order
18. Contravention of protection orderA respondent who has been served with a copy of a protection order or an interim protection order who contravenes the order in any respect, commits an offence and is liable on conviction—
19. Variation or revocation of protection order
20. Proceedings for protection order not to affect other proceedings
Part IV – Services
22. Services to aggrieved persons and other persons offering support
23. Counselling services and programmesThe Minister shall ensure that counselling services and programmes provided for under this Act are of an approved standard and are provided by qualified persons or at an approved institution registered or licensed in accordance with any written law and as prescribed by Regulations.
24 Training programme for police officers
25. Specialised training for judicial officersThe Minister in consultation with the Chief Justice shall ensure that judicial officers dealing with domestic violence offences receive specialised training in handling such cases.
26. Enforcement of ActThe Minister shall take all measures necessary to ensure that—
Part V – Offences and penalties
27. Domestic violence offences
28. Giving of false informationA person who intentionally gives false information with respect to conduct constituting domestic violence to a police officer commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding SCR30,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 3 years or to both such fine and imprisonment.
29. Disclosure of records and information on domestic violence
Part VI – Miscellaneous
30. Publication of information on proceedings under Act
31. Rules of courtThe Chief Justice may, for the purpose of an application under this Act, make rules of court concerning inter alia—
33. Repeal, transitional provisions and savings
History of this document
15 June 2020 this version
09 June 2020