Domestic Violence (Protection Orders) Act


Published: 2008-12-01

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Domestic Violence (Protection Orders)
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE (PROTECTION ORDERS) [CH.99A – 1





LRO 1/2010 STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS

CHAPTER 99A

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE (PROTECTION ORDERS)


LIST OF AUTHORISED PAGES

1 – 35 LRO 1/2010

ARRANGEMENT OF SECTIONS

SECTION

1. Short title.
2. Interpretation.
3. Protection order.
4. Application for protection order.
5. Preliminary measures.
6. Duplication of proceedings.
7. Affidavit evidence.
8. Form of orders.
9. Matters to be taken into account.
10. Notice to respondent.
11. Explaining of proposed order to respondent.
12. Ouster order.
13. Breach of protection order.
14. Power of arrest.
15. Prosecution instituted by summons.
16. Power to enter domestic premises.
17. Criminal proceedings.
18. Duration of order.
19. Variation and revocation of orders.
20. Jurisdiction.
21. Rights concerning matrimonial home where one spouse has no

estate.
22. Rights concerning matrimonial home where both spouses have

estate.
23. Restriction on publication.
24. Hearing and evidence.
25. Bail.
26. Appeal.
27. Assistance to victims of domestic violence
28. Preparation of reports.

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29. Role of Ministry in alleviating domestic violence and abuse.
30. Rules.
31. Ownership of property.
32. Repeal and saving.

FIRST SCHEDULE (Section 2)
SECOND SCHEDULE (Section 4)
Form 1
Form 2
Form 3
Form 4
Form 5
THIRD SCHEDULE (Section 32)


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CHAPTER 99A

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE (PROTECTION ORDERS)

AN ACT TO PROVIDE FOR THE
GRANTING OF PROTECTION ORDERS IN
CIRCUMSTANCES SURROUNDING DOMESTIC
VIOLENCE AND FOR RELATED AND
CONSEQUENTIAL MATTERS

[Assent 29th March, 2007]
[Commencement 1st December 2008]

1. This Act may be cited as the Domestic Violence
(Protection Orders) Act.

2. In this Act —
“child” includes an adopted child, a stepchild or a

child who is a member of the household of the
complainant and is treated as such by the
complainant and the complainant's spouse or
partner;

“clerk” means the clerk of the court;
“complainant” means a person who applies under

this Act for a protection order;
“court” means the Magistrates Court having

jurisdiction to hear the application save where
otherwise provided in this Act;

“the Department” means the Department of Social
Services/Rehabilitative and Welfare Services;

“domestic violence” includes physical, sexual,
emotional or psychological or financial abuse
committed by a person against a spouse,
partner, child, any other person who is a
member of the household or dependant;

“emotional or psychological abuse” means a
pattern of behaviour of any kind, the purpose
of which is to undermine the emotional or
mental well-being of a person including:
(a) persistent intimidation by the use of

abusive or threatening language;

24 of 2007

S.I. 102/2008

Short title.

Interpretation.

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(b) depriving that person of the use of his
property;

(c) interfering with or damaging the property
of the person;

(d) the forced confinement of the person;
(e) making unwelcome and repeated or

intimidatory contact with a child or
elderly relative of the person;

“financial abuse” means a pattern of behaviour of a
kind, the purpose of which is to exercise
coercive control over, or exploit or limit a
person's access to financial resources so as to
ensure financial dependance;

“harassment” includes —
(a) the intimidation of a person by —

(i) persistent verbal abuse;
(ii) threats of physical violence;
(iii) the malicious damage of the property

of a person; or
(iv) any unwanted physical, verbal or

visual sexual advances, requests for
sexual favours, and other sexually
oriented conduct which is offensive
or objectionable to the recipient,
including, but not limited to: epithets
derogatory or suggestive comments,
slurs or gestures and offensive
posters, cartoons, pictures, emails,
telephone calls or drawings but not
being an occasional compliment of a
socially acceptable nature;

(b) stalking;
(c) the hiding of any clothes or other property

owned by or used by a person or the
depriving of a person of the use thereof or
the hindering of a person in the use
thereof; or

(d) the indulgence or engagement in a pattern
of behaviour by a person that would or

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likely have the effect of undermining the
emotional or well-being of another;

“magistrate” has the meaning as in the Magistrates
Act;

“partner” means —
(a) a party to a common law relationship

between a man and woman living with, or
who have lived with, each other in the
same household as if they were husband
and wife; and

(b) a person who would, but for the fact of
not living in the same household, be said
to be having or have had with a person of
the other sex an intimate relationship;

“physical abuse” means any act or omission which
causes physical injury to a complainant or his
child and includes the commission of or an
attempt to commit any of the offences of the
nature listed in the First Schedule in relation to
the complainant or his child;

“protection order” means an order under section 3
or 5;

“respondent” means the person referred to in
section 4(2);

“spouse” includes a former spouse;
“stalking” includes —

(a) persistent following of a person from
place to place;

(b) the watching or besetting of the place
where a person resides, works, carries on
business or happens to be;

(c) persistent telephoning or other attempts at
communicating with a spouse, partner or
child or other member of that spouse's
household and knowing that such course
of conduct would likely cause annoyance
to that spouse, partner or member:
Provided nothing in paragraphs (a), (b) or
(c) applies to conduct on the part of a
person acting in the performance of his

Ch.54.

First Schedule.

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duties in providing security for the benefit
of another.

3. (1) Where on an application made in accordance
with section 4 in respect of a person and without prejudice
to section 5(6) the court is satisfied on the balance of
probabilities that a person —

(a) has engaged in or has threatened to
engage in conduct that is capable of
constituting domestic violence or an
attempt to commit domestic violence
against the spouse, partner or child of that
person or some other member of the
household; or

(b) without prejudice to paragraph (a), has
engaged in conduct that may reasonably
be regarded as harassment of the spouse,
partner or child, or other member of the
household,

and unless that person is restrained, is likely to engage in
further conduct that would constitute conduct referred to in
paragraph (a) or (b), it may make an order, in this Act
referred to as a protection order, restraining the person
from engaging in that conduct or in similar conduct.

(2) Subject to subsection (3), on an application for
a protection order under subsection (1), the court may
where it considers that it is necessary to do so in order to
ensure the safety of the spouse, partner or child pending the
hearing and determination of the application, make an
interim protection order before considering the application.

(3) Without prejudice to sections 4(9) and 5(6) the
court shall not make an interim protection order under
subsection (2), unless the application for such an order is
supported by oral evidence on oath or by evidence on
affidavit given by the complainant.

(4) Subject to sections 18(1) and 20(2), a
protection order made by the court under subsection (1)
may be for such period of time as the court considers
necessary, but may, on the application of the complainant
or the respondent, be varied or revoked.

4. (1) An application for a protection order in
accordance with Form 1 in the Second Schedule may be
made by way of complaint by —

Protection order.

Application for
protection order.
Second
Schedule.

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(a) the spouse or partner of the person against
whom the order is sought where the
domestic violence was committed or the
harassment conducted against that spouse,
partner or a child of the household;

(b) any other member of the household, not
being a spouse, partner or child;

(c) the Commissioner of Police;
(d) with the leave of the court, a person other

than a person mentioned in paragraph (a),
as agent for a person to whom that
paragraph applies; or

(e) an officer of the Department on behalf of
a child against whom the domestic
violence was committed or the
harassment conducted.

(2) The person against whom the order is sought
shall be the respondent to the application.

(3) Where an application for a protection order
has been made to the court under subsection (1), the court
shall issue a copy of the application together with a
summons in accordance with Form 2 set out in the Second
Schedule to the respondent forthwith to be served
personally on the respondent.

(4) Where it appears to the Court that it is not
reasonably practicable to serve personally on the
respondent a copy of an application for a protection order,
or any other document required under the Act to be served
personally the court may —

(a) order that the copy of the application be
served by such other means as the court
thinks just;

(b) make an order for substituted service.

(5) Notwithstanding anything in this or any other
Act, any document required to be served under this Act
may be served by an attorney-at-law or his agent.

(6) Where it is proved to the satisfaction of a
magistrate on oath that the summons and the copy of the
application referred to in subsection (3) or (4) was served
on the respondent within what appears to the magistrate to
be a reasonable time and the respondent failed to appear at

Second Schedule.

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the time and place appointed for the hearing, the magistrate
may —

(a) proceed to hear and determine the matter
in the absence of the respondent; or

(b) where the court is satisfied, having regard
to the information before it, that it is
appropriate to do so, adjourn the matter
and issue a warrant for the respondent to
be apprehended and brought before the
court.

(7) Where a complainant is a person referred to in
paragraph (b), (c) or (d) of subsection (1), a protection
order shall not be made in respect of the application unless
notice of the application in accordance with Form 2 of the
Second Schedule was given to the spouse or partner against
whom the domestic violence was committed or the
harassment was conducted or to any other interested party
concerned.

(8) The court shall endeavour to hear an
application for a protection order within two days after the
date of service of the application or as soon as practicable
thereafter.

(9) A court may make a protection order where it
considers just to do so upon the evidence presented to it
notwithstanding the absence of the oral testimony of the
person against whom the domestic violence or harassment
is alleged to have been or attempted to have been
perpetrated.

(10) Notwithstanding anything to the contrary in
any law any statement signed by that person in the
presence of a police officer or officer of the Department to
whom that person made the allegation may be adduced in
evidence by the officer for the purposes of this section.

5. (1) Upon the appearance before the magistrate of
a respondent the magistrate may if he considers, having
regard to the particulars of the complaint and any
representations made, that the subject matter of the
complaint may be ameliorated through counselling or
parenting sessions carried out or arranged by officers of the
Department the magistrate may adjourn further hearing of
the application and refer the parties to the Department for
that purpose.

Second Schedule.

Preliminary
measures.

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(2) Where the court adjourns any proceedings
under subsection (1) it may request an officer of the
Department to present before it on a specified date a report
in writing as to whether any progress has been made
towards a resolution of the complaint.

(3) Upon receipt of that report which shall not
include any other information or details of what transpired
at any counselling session the court may deal with the
complaint as it sees fit in accordance with this Act.

(4) Prior notice of each date on which a report is
to be presented pursuant to subsection (2) shall be given to
the parties and shall be construed for the purposes of the
hearing of the complaint as an adjourned date of hearing.

(5) In proceedings under this Act the court may at
any time before the taking of evidence, accept an
Undertaking from the respondent given under oath, that the
respondent shall not engage in conduct specified in the
complaint or any other conduct that constitutes domestic
violence.

(6) Where an Undertaking is given under
subsection (5) the court may make a protection order or
interim order, as it deems fit, in respect of the Undertaking.

(7) An Undertaking may deal with all matters that
may be dealt with under a Protection Order or Interim
Order as the Court sees fit, having regard to the matters
referred to in section 9 (1).

(8) An Undertaking shall be deemed to remain in
force for the period stated in the Undertaking or if it was
made the subject of a protection order or interim protection
order, for the period stated therein but shall not exceed two
years.

(9) Subsections (3) through (6) and subsection (8)
of section 4, sections 10 (2), 11, 13 and 19 apply in relation
to an Undertaking as they do apply to a protection order,
interim order or an application for such an order.

6. (1) Subject to subsection (3) no application shall
be made by a person to a magistrate for a protection order
against his or her spouse or partner if there are pending in
the Supreme Court proceedings by either of them in respect
of their relationship or of any child of that relationship save
however that application may be made in the Supreme
Court as if the same were an application made to a
magistrates court and for that purpose the provisions of this

Duplication of
proceedings.

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Act regarding the powers of that court on such an
application including the Forms set out in the Second
Schedule shall mutatis mutandis apply.

(2) Where proceedings as mentioned in subsection
(1) are instituted in the Supreme Court while a protection
order is pending against one spouse or partner nothing in
this Act shall preclude a judge of that court from varying or
discharging that order as he sees fit.

(3) Without prejudice to subsection (1) any court
seised of a matter that involves contested issues between
spouses or partners may, if it considers it just having regard
to the nature of the matter and of any behaviour displayed
or said to have been displayed by one party to the other, on
its own motion exercise any of the powers conferred by the
other sections of this Act as if a complaint had been lodged
or an application made under this Act.

7. (1) Evidence on an application for a protection
order may be given on affidavit.

(2) It is not necessary to call a person who made
an affidavit pursuant to subsection (1), to give evidence
unless a party to the proceedings or the court hearing the
application so requires.

8. (1) Subject to this Act, a protection order may
include provisions restraining the respondent —

(a) from being on premises on which the
complainant for the protection order or
the child or member of the household in
respect of whom the order was made,
resides;

(b) from being on premises that are the place
of work of the complainant or the place of
education or work of the child or member
of the household in respect of whom the
order was made;

(c) from being in a specified locality, being a
locality in which premises as mentioned
in paragraph (a) or (b) or any other
premises the court deems it necessary to
specify, are situated;

(d) from approaching within a specified
distance of the complainant or the child or
member of the household in respect of
whom the order was made;

Affidavit
evidence.

Form of orders.

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(e) where the person continues to reside with
the complainant or the child or member of
the household in respect of whom the
order was made, from entering or
remaining on the premises, while
intoxicated or under the influence of a
drug;

(f) from causing another person to engage in
the conduct referred to in paragraph (a) or
(c) of subsection (3);

(2) A protection order may —
(a) require the respondent to —

(i) leave the premises referred to under
paragraph (a) of subsection (1);

(ii) continue any legal or other obligation
the respondent may have to pay the
rent, mortgage, utilities or taxes of
the premises referred to in that sub-
paragraph where the respondent is
asked to leave under sub-paragraph
(i);

(iii) allow the complainant to enter and
remain on the premises referred to in
paragraph (c) of subsection (1); or

(b) specify conditions subject to which the
respondent may be on premises or in a
locality specified in the order.

(3) A protection order that includes a provision
mentioned in paragraph (a) of subsection (1) may also
include a provision —

(a) restraining the respondent from taking
possession of personal property of either
the complainant or the respondent, being
property that is reasonably needed by a
member of the complainant's household;

(b) directing the respondent to give
possession of such of that property as is
specified in the order, to a specified
member of the respondent's household;

(c) requiring the respondent to pay
compensation for monetary loss incurred

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by a complainant as a direct result of
conduct that amounted to domestic
violence;

(d) requiring the respondent to pay interim
monetary relief to the complainant for the
benefit of the complainant and any child
where there is no existing order relating to
maintenance until such time as an
obligation for support is determined
pursuant to any other written law;

(e) requiring the respondent to relinquish to
the police any firearm licence, firearm or
other weapon which may or may not have
been used but which the court considers
just to order;

(f) prohibiting the respondent from damaging
property of the complainant or a child of
the complainant or respondent; or

(g) prohibiting the respondent from causing
another person to engage in the conduct
referred to in paragraph (a) or (f).

(4) Notwithstanding section 2 in paragraphs (b),
(c) and (d) “complainant” means a person against whom
the offence was committed or who was harassed.

(5) A protection order shall, in each case, provide
that the parties to the order or any child in respect of whom
the order was made, attend the Family Services Division of
the Department or such other agency as the court specifies,
for appropriate professional counselling and therapy, due
regard being had to the business or employment
responsibilities of the parties.

(6) Where a protection order has been made in
accordance with subsection (5), the Family Services
Division of the Department or any other agency specified
by the court under subsection (5) shall forward to the court
a report setting out the dates on which counselling took
place, the nature of the counselling and therapy carried out
and the response given to the counselling and therapy by
the parties to the order and any child in respect of whom
the order was made not later than one month before the
expiration of the order or at such time as the court
specifies.

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9. (1) In determining an application for a protection
order, the court shall have regard to the following —

(a) the need to ensure that persons are
protected from violence and harassment;

(b) the welfare of any child who is a member
of the respondent's household;

(c) the need to preserve and protect the
institution of marriage and to give
protection and assistance to the family as
a natural and fundamental group unit of
society;

(d) the accommodation needs of the members
of the household;

(e) any hardship that will be caused to the
respondent or to any other person as a
result of the making of the order; and

(f) any other matter that in the circumstances
of the case, the court considers relevant.

(2) An order under section 8(3)(c) for the payment
of compensation, which shall be received by the court on
behalf of the complainant, shall not exceed ten thousand
dollars and shall include but not be limited to —

(a) loss of earnings;
(b) medical and dental expenses;
(c) moving and accommodation expenses;
(d) reasonable legal costs.

(3) In determining whether to make an order that
includes a provision of the kind mentioned in subsection
(2) or (3) of section 8, the court shall also take into account
the property, income and financial resources, and the
financial obligations, of the complainant and the
respondent.

(4) In having regard to the matters referred to in
subsections (1) and (3), the court shall consider the matters
referred to in paragraphs (a) and (b) of subsection (1) as
being of primary importance.

10. (1) Subject to this Act, a protection order shall not
be made by the court unless the respondent has had actual
notice in the Form 2 set out in the Second Schedule, of the
application for the order.

Matters to be
taken into
account.

Notice to
respondent.
Second
Schedule.

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(2) Where a protection order or an interim
protection order is made or varied by the court, the clerk
shall forthwith —

(a) arrange for an order in the Form 3 or in
the Form 4 as the case may be set out in
the Second Schedule to be formally drawn
up and filed in the court;

(b) cause a copy of the order referred to in
paragraph (a) to be served personally on
the respondent;

(c) cause a copy of the order referred to in
paragraph (a) to be forwarded to —
(i) the Commissioner of Police and to

the police officer in charge of the
police station that is situated in the
jurisdiction of the place of residence
of the complainant and respondent;
and

(ii) any other person who was a party to
the proceedings.

11. (1) Where —
(a) the court proposes to make a protection

order or an interim protection order; and
(b) the respondent is before the court,

the court shall, before making the order, explain to the
respondent in language that he understands, the matters
contained in subsection (2).

(2) The matters referred to in subsection (1) are —
(a) the purpose, terms and effect of the

proposed order;
(b) the consequences that may follow if the

respondent fails to comply with the terms
of the proposed order; and

(c) the means by which the proposed order
may be varied or revoked.

12. (1) Where an agreement, including a mortgage or
a lease of premises provides that, if the respondent ceases
to reside in his or her place of residence, a person may take
action that would be prejudicial to the interests of the
respondent or a member of the respondent's household the

Second Schedule.

Explaining of
proposed order to
respondent.

Ouster order.

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person is not entitled to take that action if the respondent
ceases to reside in the place of residence in compliance
with a particular order without prejudice to the continuing
obligations of the respondent under the agreement,
mortgage or lease.

(2) Where the court is satisfied on evidence before
it that an agreement referred to in subsection (1) exists in
relation to the respondent, the court shall at the time of
making an order, direct that a notice in accordance with
Form 5 in the Second Schedule be sent by the clerk of the
court to the person referred to in subsection (1).

13. Where —
(a) a protection order or an interim protection

order is made and the respondent —
(i) was present at the time the protection

order or interim protection order was
made; or

(ii) was not present at the time the
protection order or interim protection
order was made, and a copy of the
protection order or interim protection
order has been served personally on
the respondent or it had been
necessary to effect that service by
substituted service; and

(b) the respondent contravenes the order in
any respect,

the respondent is guilty of an offence and is liable on
summary conviction to a fine of five thousand dollars or to
imprisonment for a term of twelve months or to both.

14. (1) Subject to subsection (2), where the court
makes a protection order the court may —

(a) where it is satisfied that the respondent
has caused actual bodily harm to the
complainant or to the child concerned as
the case may be;

(b) where it considers that the respondent is
likely to cause actual bodily harm again;
and

(c) where the complainant has applied for a
power of arrest to be attached to the

Second Schedule.

Breach of
protection order.

Power of arrest.

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protection order either before or at any
time during the hearing of the application,

attach a power of arrest to the protection order.
(2) No power of arrest may be attached to a

protection order unless the respondent has been given
notice that such a power has been applied for.

(3) Where a power of arrest is attached to a
protection order, a police officer may arrest without
warrant a person whom he has reasonable cause for
suspecting of being in breach of such a provision of the
protection order as falls within paragraphs (a) and (b) of
subsection (1) by reason of that person's use of violence or,
as the case may be, of his entry into any premises or area.

(4) Where a power of arrest is attached to a
protection order and a person to whom the order is
addressed is arrested under subsection (3) —

(a) he shall be brought before the court
within the period of twenty-four hours
beginning at the time of his arrest, or, as
soon as reasonably practicable thereafter,
and dealt with for an offence under
section 13; and

(b) he shall not be released within that period
except on the direction of the court,

but nothing in this section authorizes the detention of that
person at any time after the expiry of that period.

15. (1) A person mentioned in section 4(1) may lay
before a court an information in accordance with
section 13.

(2) Where a prosecution for an offence under
section 13 is instituted by summons, the summons shall
require the person to appear to answer the information at a
time not later than three sitting days of the court after the
time at which the summons is issued.

(3) Service of the summons referred to in
subsection (1) shall be effected at least twenty-four hours
before the time appointed in the summons for the hearing
of the information.

(4) For the purposes of subsection (3) and section
14(4) no account shall be taken of any Saturday, Sunday or
public holiday.

Prosecution
instituted by
summons.

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16. (1) A police officer may, without warrant enter
any premises for the purpose of giving assistance to anyone
present thereon —

(a) if he has reasonable grounds to suspect
that a protection order is being violated;
or

(b) if upon the invitation of a person resident
at the premises he has reasonable grounds
to suspect that a person therein has
suffered, or is in imminent danger of
suffering, physical injury at the hands of
some other person therein.

(2) Nothing in this Act shall be construed as
limiting the powers conferred by any other law upon a
court or a police officer except where it is provided in this
Act that the provision herein is notwithstanding anything to
the contrary in that other law.

(3) Where a police officer exercises a power of
entry upon private premises in accordance with the
foregoing provisions of this section, he shall as soon as
practicable thereafter submit a written report to the officer
in charge of the police station to which he is assigned.

17. The power of the court to make a protection order
or an interim protection order in respect of a person may be
exercised notwithstanding that the person has been charged
with an offence arising out of the same conduct as that out
of which the application for the protection order arose.

18. (1) A protection order remains in force for such
period, not exceeding three years, as the court specifies in
the order.

(2) Where a protection order contains a
prohibition or condition of the kind specified in section 8,
the court may specify different periods, being periods none
of which exceeds the period specified pursuant to
subsection (1), as the period for which each prohibition or
condition is to remain in force.

(3) Subject to this section, an interim protection
order remains in force for such period, not exceeding
fourteen days as the court specifies in the order.

(4) Where —
(a) the court adjourns the hearing of an

application for a protection order; and

Power to enter
domestic
premises.

Criminal
proceedings.

Duration of
order.

[CH.99A – 18 DOMESTIC VIOLENCE (PROTECTION ORDERS)





STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS LRO 1/2010

(b) an interim order is in force in respect of
the respondent,

the court may, by order, extend the period for which an
interim order is to remain in force until the date fixed for
the further hearing of the application.

(5) An interim protection order made on an
application under section 3, ceases to be in force —

(a) where a protection order is made on that
application and the respondent is present
at the time the protection order is made,
when the protection order is made;

(b) where a protection order is made on that
application but the respondent is not
present at the time the protection order is
made, when the protection order is served
on the respondent; or

(c) when the application is dismissed.

19. (1) Where a protection order or an interim
protection order is in force, a party to the proceedings in
which the order was made may apply to the court that
made the order or a court of like jurisdiction in accordance
with Form 4 set out in the Second Schedule for an order
varying or revoking the order set out in the Second
Schedule.

(2) On an application under subsection (1), the
court may by order, vary or revoke the protection order or
the interim protection order as the case may be.

(3) The clerk shall cause a copy of an application
under this section to be served personally on each person
other than the applicant, who was a party to the
proceedings in which the original order was made.

(4) In determining whether to vary or revoke a
protection order under subsection (2), the court shall have
regard to the matters specified in section 9 and to any
report made pursuant to subsection (6) of section 8 in
relation to the parties.

20. (1) Where a protection order is in force in respect
of a person who files pursuant to section 6(1) an
application for similar relief in the Supreme Court that
order shall —

Variation and
revocation of
orders.
Second
Schedule.

Jurisdiction.

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE (PROTECTION ORDERS) [CH.99A – 19





LRO 1/2010 STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS

(a) subject to section 6(2) remain in force
until expiry and shall not be varied by a
magistrates court before its expiration;

(b) not abate merely by reason that
matrimonial proceedings have been
subsequently instituted in the Supreme
Court by either of the parties concerned.

(2) An order made under section 8(3)(d) for the
benefit of a party to or a child of a marriage shall be
deemed to be an order made under section 4 of the
Matrimonial Causes (Summary Jurisdiction) Act but shall
not extend beyond the duration of the protection order.

21. (1) Where one party to a marriage is entitled to
occupy the matrimonial home by virtue of a beneficial
estate or interest or contract or by virtue of any written law
giving that party the right to remain in occupation, and the
other party to the marriage is not so entitled, then, subject
to the provisions of this Act, the party not so entitled shall
have the following rights (in this section referred to as
“rights of occupation”) —

(a) if in occupation, a right not to be evicted
or excluded from the matrimonial home
or any part thereof by the other party
except with the leave of the court given
by an order under this section; and

(b) if not in occupation, a right with the leave
of the court so given to enter into and
occupy the matrimonial home.

(2) So long as one party to a marriage has rights of
occupation, either party to the marriage may apply to the
Supreme Court for an order —

(a) declaring, enforcing, restricting or
terminating those rights;

(b) prohibiting, suspending or restricting
the exercise by either party of the right to
occupy the matrimonial home; or

(c) requiring either party to permit the
exercise by the other party of that right.

(3) On an application for an order under this
section, the court may make such order as it thinks just and
reasonable having regard to the conduct of the parties to
the marriage in relation to each other and otherwise, to

Ch. 126.

Rights
concerning
matrimonial
home where one
spouse has no
estate.

[CH.99A – 20 DOMESTIC VIOLENCE (PROTECTION ORDERS)





STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS LRO 1/2010

their respective needs and financial resources, to the needs
of any children and to all the circumstances of the case,
and, without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing
provision —

(a) may exclude part of the matrimonial
home from a party's right of occupation
(and, in particular, a part used wholly or
mainly for or in connection with the trade,
business or profession of the other party);

(b) may order a party occupying the
matrimonial home or any part thereof by
virtue of this section to make periodical
payments to the other in respect of the
occupation; or

(c) may impose on either party obligations as
to the repair and maintenance of the
matrimonial home or the discharge of any
liabilities in respect of the matrimonial
home.

(4) Orders under this section may, in so far as they
have a continuing effect, be limited so as to have effect for
a period specified in the order or until further ordered.

(5) Where a party is entitled under this section to
occupy a matrimonial home or any part thereof and makes
any payment in or towards satisfaction of any liability of
the other party in respect of mortgage payments affecting
the matrimonial home, the person to whom the payment is
made may treat it as having been made by that other party,
but the fact that that person has treated any such payment
as having been so made shall not affect any claim of the
first-mentioned party against the other to an interest in the
matrimonial home by virtue of the payment.

(6) The rights of occupation of a party to a
marriage shall continue only so long as the marriage
subsists and the other party is entitled as mentioned in
subsection (1) to occupy the dwelling house.

22. (1) Where each of two parties to a marriage is
entitled, by virtue of a legal estate vested in them jointly, to
occupy a dwelling in which they have or at any time have
had a matrimonial home, either of them may apply to the
Supreme Court, with respect to the exercise during the
subsistence of the marriage of the right to occupy the
dwelling, for an order prohibiting, suspending or restricting

Rights
concerning
matrimonial
home where both
spouses have
estate.

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE (PROTECTION ORDERS) [CH.99A – 21





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its exercise by the other or requiring the other to permit its
exercise by the applicant.

(2) In relation to orders under this section,
subsections (3) and (4) of section 21 shall apply as they
apply in relation to orders under that section.

(3) Where each of two parties to a marriage is
entitled to occupy a dwelling by virtue of a contract, or by
virtue of any written law giving them the right to remain in
occupation, this section shall apply as it applies where they
are entitled by virtue of a legal estate vested in them
jointly.

(4) In determining for the purposes of this section
whether two parties to a marriage are entitled to occupy a
dwelling house, there shall be disregarded any right to
possession of the dwelling conferred on a mortgagee of the
dwelling house under or by virtue of the mortgage, whether
the mortgagee is in possession or not.

(5) For the purposes of this Act —
“apartment” means a separate and self-contained

set of premises constructed for use as a place
of residence and forming part of a building
from some other part of which it is divided;

“child of the family” has the same meaning as in
the Matrimonial Causes (Summary
Jurisdiction) Act;

“dwelling” means a building used or intended to be
used mainly as a separate dwelling or place of
residence and includes an apartment;

“matrimonial home” means any dwelling being
used exclusively or principally as a home by
one or both of the parties to a marriage, in any
case where —
(a) either or both of the parties —

(i) owns the dwelling,
(ii) owns a specified share of any estate

or interest in the land on which the
dwelling is situated and by reason of
reciprocal agreements with the
owners of the other shares is entitled
to the exclusive occupation of the
dwelling, or

Ch. 126.

[CH.99A – 22 DOMESTIC VIOLENCE (PROTECTION ORDERS)





STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS LRO 1/2010

(iii) holds shares in a company which
owns any estate or interest in the land
on which the dwelling is situated
and, by reason of holding those
shares, is entitled to the exclusive
occupation of the dwelling; and

(b) either or both of the parties owned the
dwelling or the specified share in land or
held the shares, as the case may be, at the
date of any application under the
provisions of this Act;

“mortgage” includes a charge and mortgagor and
mortgagee shall be construed accordingly;

“mortgagor” and “mortgagee” includes any person
deriving title under the original mortgagor or
mortgagee.

23. (1) A person shall not publish in a newspaper or
by broadcast or otherwise disseminate to the public the
identity of a party to a proceedings in connection with a
protection order or information from which the identity of
such a party may readily be ascertained.

(2) If any matter is published or broadcast in
contravention of subsection (1), the following persons,
namely —

(a) in the case of a publication in a newspaper
or periodical, any proprietor, any editor
and any publisher of the newspaper or
periodical;

(b) in the case of any other publication, the
person who publishes it; and

(c) in the case of a broadcast, any body
corporate which transmits or provides the
programmes in which the broadcast is
made and any person having functions in
relation to the programme corresponding
to those of an editor of a newspaper,

shall be guilty of an offence and liable on summary
conviction to a fine of five thousand dollars.

(3) Nothing in this section limits —
(a) the provisions of any other enactment

relating to prohibition or regulation of the

Restriction on
publication.

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE (PROTECTION ORDERS) [CH.99A – 23





LRO 1/2010 STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS

publication of reports or particulars
relating to judicial proceedings; or

(b) the power of a court to punish any
contempt of court.

(4) This section shall not apply to the publication
of any report in any publication that —

(a) is of a bona fide professional or technical
nature; or

(b) is intended for circulation among
members of the legal or medical
professions, officers of the Public Service,
psychologists, marriage counselors or
social welfare workers.

24. (1) The business of a court shall, so far as is
consistent with the due dispatch of business, be arranged in
such manner as may be necessary for separating the
hearing and determination of applications under this Act
from other business.

(2) No person shall be present during the hearing
and determination by a court of any application under this
Act except —

(a) members and officers of the court;
(b) parties to the case before the court,

counsel and attorneys and witnesses and
other persons directly concerned in the
case;

(c) counsel and attorneys in attendance for
other cases;

(d) any other person whom the court may
permit to be present.

(3) During the taking, in any application under
this Act, of any evidence which, in the opinion of the court,
is of an intimate or indecent character, the court may, if it
thinks it necessary in the interest of the administration of
justice or of public decency, direct that all persons, not
being members or officers of the court or parties to the case
their counsel and attorneys or other persons directly
concerned in the case, be excluded from the court during
the taking of that evidence.

Hearing and
evidence.

[CH.99A – 24 DOMESTIC VIOLENCE (PROTECTION ORDERS)





STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS LRO 1/2010

(4) The powers conferred on a court by this
section shall be in addition and without prejudice to any
other powers of the court to hear proceedings in camera.

(5) Nothing contained in this section shall affect
the exercise by the court of the power to direct what
witnesses shall be excluded from the court until they are
called for examination.

(6) Notwithstanding any other law to the contrary,
in any hearing of an application for a protection order
made by an officer of the Department under paragraph (e)
of section 4(1) in respect of a child, the spouse or partner
of a person against whom the order is sought is a
compellable witness.

25. (1) Notwithstanding any other law to the contrary,
where the court is required to determine whether to grant
bail in respect of an offence under this Act, the matters that
it shall take into account shall include —

(a) the need to ensure that persons are
protected from violence and harassment;

(b) the welfare of the child, where the
respondent or a victim of the alleged
offence has custody of a child who has
not attained the age of 18 years; and

(c) any hardship that may be caused to the
respondent or to members of the
respondent's household if bail is not
granted or a particular condition is
imposed.

(2) The court may grant bail on such terms and
conditions as it thinks fit.

(3) Where —
(a) bail has been granted to a person upon

conditions; and
(b) the person contravenes or fails to comply

with any condition,
the bail is thereupon forfeited and the respondent is liable
to be rearrested.

26. (1) Subject to subsection (3), an appeal against an
order made by a magistrate's court under this Act shall lie
in the same manner as if it were an order to which section
54 (2) of the Magistrates Act applies.

Bail.

Appeal.


Ch. 54.

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE (PROTECTION ORDERS) [CH.99A – 25





LRO 1/2010 STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS

(2) Where an appeal against an order is made by
the respondent under subsection (1), the court shall impose
in respect of any recognizance made by the respondent in
relation to the appeal such conditions as it considers
necessary for the safety and protection of the complainant.

(3) An appeal under this Act does not lie from —
(a) the making, variation or revocation of an

interim protection order; or
(b) the refusal of the court to make an interim

protection order.

(4) Except where the court which makes an order
under this Act otherwise directs, the operation of such
order shall not be suspended by virtue of an appeal under
subsection (1) and every such order may be enforced in the
same manner and in all respects as if no appeal under this
section were pending.

27. Whenever a police officer intervenes in a matter for
which a protection order may be sought under this Act, the
police officer shall, as soon as possible take the following
steps —

(a) where a victim indicates that he has
suffered injuries though not visible, which
require medical assistance, the police
officer shall assist the victim to obtain
medical treatment as soon as possible;

(b) where a victim of domestic violence
expresses concern for his safety, the
police officer shall assist the victim in
getting to a place of safety;

(c) where a victim of domestic violence
requests it, a police officer shall protect a
victim by accompanying the victim when
he takes his personal belongings from a
place where the would be respondent may
reside;

(d) advise the victim of domestic violence on
the importance of preserving the
evidence;

(e) inform the victim as to his rights and of
services which may be available to assist
him, be they government or private
services.

Assistance to
victims of
domestic
violence.

[CH.99A – 26 DOMESTIC VIOLENCE (PROTECTION ORDERS)





STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS LRO 1/2010

28. (1) Where a police officer intervenes in an
incident of domestic violence, he shall prepare a written
report of same which shall contain the allegations of the
persons involved and the witnesses, the type of
investigation conducted and how the incident was resolved.

(2) The police officer in charge of every police
station shall ensure that all records of domestic violence
complaints and cases are properly compiled so as to
facilitate easy reference to data.

(3) The police officer in charge of every police
station shall ensure that confidentiality is maintained with
respect to the identity of persons involved in all matters of
domestic violence though inspection of that data may be
made by an officer of the Department duly authorized by
the Minister to do so.

29. The Ministry responsible for social services shall
be responsible for —

(a) promoting and developing educational
programmes for the prevention of
domestic violence;

(b) studying, investigating and publishing
statistics and other relevant reports on the
domestic violence problem in The
Bahamas, its causes, manifestations and
scope; the consequences and the options
for confronting and eradicating it, in
conjunction with The Bahamas Police
Force;

(c) identifying groups and sectors in society
in which domestic abuse is manifested
and educating these groups and sectors
making them aware of the skills required
to combat domestic violence;

(d) creating an awareness among society with
regard to the needs of victims of domestic
violence and their families;

(e) developing strategies to encourage
changes in the policies and procedures in
government agencies in order to improve
their response to the needs of the victims
of domestic violence;

Preparation of
reports.

Role of Ministry
in alleviating
domestic
violence and
abuse.

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE (PROTECTION ORDERS) [CH.99A – 27





LRO 1/2010 STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS

(f) the establishing of programmes on
information support and counselling
services for victims of domestic violence;

(g) encouraging the establishment of shelters
for victims of domestic violence;

(h) encouraging programmes of services for
boys and girls who come from homes
where there is abuse and violence;

(i) providing training and orientation services
for persons who assist in the treatment
and counselling of victims of domestic
violence and abuse;

(j) analyzing and carrying out in conjunction
with other studies on the need for
education and retraining of persons who
engage in conduct that constitutes
domestic violence and abuse and for their
rehabilitation.

30. Rules of court may be made by the Rules
Committee constituted by section 75 of the Supreme Court
Act for carrying into effect the provisions of this Act,
including the provision of any forms to be used for the
purposes of this Act.

31. Nothing in this Act shall be deemed to have altered
any right a spouse may have to ownership of property.

32. (1) The provisions of the Sexual Offences and
Domestic Violence Act mentioned in the first column of
the Third Schedule are amended in the manner and to the
extent set out in the second column of that Schedule.

(2) Any amendment set out in the Third Schedule
shall not affect anything duly done or to be done
consequent upon proceedings instituted prior to the coming
into operation of this Act and any such thing may continue
to be done as if this Act had not come into operation.

(3) Without prejudice to subsection (2) reference
in all laws or to any document existing prior to the date of
the coming into operation of this section to the Sexual
Offences and Domestic Violence Act shall after that date
be construed and read as a reference to that Act as
amended by this Act.

Rules.
Ch. 53.

Ownership of
property.

Repeal and
saving.

Ch. 99.
Third Schedule.

Third Schedule.

[CH.99A – 28 DOMESTIC VIOLENCE (PROTECTION ORDERS)





STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS LRO 1/2010



FIRST SCHEDULE (Section 2)

Assault and Battery
Aggravated assault causing wound or harm
Violent or obscene language
Possession of firearm with intent
Setting fire to a dwelling house, any person being therein
Malicious damage to property, to wit, clothing
Conspiring or soliciting to commit murder
Attempted murder
Sending letters threatening to murder
Shooting or wounding with intent to do grievous bodily

harm
Inflicting injury with or without a weapon
Attempting to choke, etc., in order to commit any

indictable offence
Using drugs
Administering poison, etc., so as to endanger life or inflict

grievous bodily harm
Administering poison, etc., with intent to injure
Exposing children so that life is endangered or mentally

affected
Attempting to blow up buildings
Driving a vehicle injuring or with intent to injure a person

by furious driving
Procuring abortion
Procuring drugs to cause abortion
Exposing children to risk of burning
Allowing children or young persons to be in brothels
Causing, encouraging or favouring seduction or

prostitution of children
Rape

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE (PROTECTION ORDERS) [CH.99A – 29





LRO 1/2010 STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS

Sexual assault by spouse
Incest
Sexual intercourse with adopted minor
Sexual intercourse with mentally subnormal person
Buggery
Serious indecency

[CH.99A – 30 DOMESTIC VIOLENCE (PROTECTION ORDERS)





STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS LRO 1/2010

SECOND SCHEDULE

(Section 4)

Form 1

IN THE MAGISTRATE'S COURT FOR DISTRICT
Domestic Violence (Protection Orders) Act

APPLICATION FOR PROTECTION ORDER
Between

A. B. of Complainant
and

C. D. of Respondent
I. ......................................................................................
of......................................................................................
being the spouse of the respondent/member of the
respondent's household hereby apply for a protection
order on the ground (s) that:





...........................................
Complainant

taken and sworn before me this .........day of ...................




(Signature)
Magistrate for District

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE (PROTECTION ORDERS) [CH.99A – 31





LRO 1/2010 STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS

Form 2

(Sections 4(3), 4(7) and 10(1))

IN THE MAGISTRATE'S COURT FOR DISTRICT

Domestic Violence (Protection Orders) Act

NOTICE OF PROCEEDINGS AND SUMMONS
No..........of 20.....

Between

A. B. of Complainant
and

C. D. of Respondent
To the Respondent:
An application under section 4 of the Domestic

Violence (Protection Orders) Act for a protection order has
been made by
against you. A copy of the application is attached.

The application has been set down for hearing on
......................................................................... 20..........at
(time)..............at.................................
You are hereby summoned to appear at the above-
mentioned Court on the ..............day of ......................at the
hours of............. in the .............noon to answer the
complainant.
If you do not appear in person at the hearing of the
application, the Court may —

(a) deal with the application in your absence;
or

(b) issue a warrant for your arrest to be
brought before the Court

Dated .................................20.......



(Signature)
Clerk of the Magistrates Court


[CH.99A – 32 DOMESTIC VIOLENCE (PROTECTION ORDERS)





STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS LRO 1/2010

Form 3

(Section 10(2))

IN THE MAGISTRATE'S COURT FOR DISTRICT

Domestic Violence (Protection Orders) Act

PROTECTION ORDER

INTERIM PROTECTION ORDER

No..........of 20.....
Between

A. B. of Complainant
and

C. D. of Respondent
The court, having heard an application made by (name

of complainant) under the Domestic Violence (Protection
Orders) Act, in respect of the conduct [or threatened
conduct] of [name of respondent] towards [name of person
to be protected]:

Now the court this day orders that for [period]:
1. [name of respondent] not engage in the

following conduct:
2. [name of respondent] not engage in

conduct that constitutes any offence
referred to under section 3:

3. [name of respondent] comply with the
following prohibitions and conditions:

[specify prohibitions and conditions and any other period
or periods for which they are imposed].

Dated .................................20.......



(Signature)
Clerk of the Magistrates Court

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE (PROTECTION ORDERS) [CH.99A – 33





LRO 1/2010 STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS

Form 4

(Section 19)

IN THE MAGISTRATE'S COURT FOR DISTRICT

Domestic Violence (Protection Orders) Act

ORDER VARYING PROTECTION ORDER or

INTERIM PROTECTION ORDER

No..........of 20.....
Between

A. B. of Complainant
and

C. D. of Respondent
The Court, having heard an application made by [name

of complainant] under the Domestic Violence (Protection
Orders) Act in respect of the conduct [or threatened
conduct] of [name of respondent] towards [name of person
to be protected], and having on [date of original order]
ordered that, for [period]:

1 [name of respondent] not engage in the
following conduct:

2. [name of respondent] not engage in
conduct that constitutes any offence
referred to under section 3:

3. [name of respondent] comply with the
following prohibitions and conditions:

[specify prohibitions and conditions and any other period
or periods for which they are imposed].

Now the Court, on the application of [name of
complainant] this day orders that the Protection Order [or
Interim Protection Order] be varied as follows:

[specify details of variation].
Dated .................................20.......


(Signature)
Clerk of the Magistrates Court

[CH.99A – 34 DOMESTIC VIOLENCE (PROTECTION ORDERS)





STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS LRO 1/2010

Form 5

IN THE MAGISTRATE'S COURT FOR DISTRICT
Domestic Violence (Protection Orders) Act

NOTICE TO EMPLOYER/LANDLORD/MORTGAGEE

You are hereby notified that a protection order has been
made under the above-named Act against.............................
of..........................................................................................

your employee/tenant/mortgagor.
Your attention is drawn to section 12(1) of the said Act

which is set out below.
Domestic Violence (Protection Orders) Act

“12. (1) Where an agreement, including a mortgage or
a lease of premises provides that, if the respondent ceases
to reside in his or her place of residence, a person may take
action that would be prejudicial to the interests of the
respondent or a member of the respondent's household the
person is not entitled to take that action if the respondent
ceases to reside in the place of residence in compliance
with a protection order”.




(Signature)
Clerk of the Magistrates Court

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE (PROTECTION ORDERS) [CH.99A – 35





LRO 1/2010 STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS

THIRD SCHEDULE (Section 32)

FIRST COLUMN
PROVISION OF
CH.99

SECOND COLUMN
AMENDMENT

S. l substitute the word “Act” for all the
words appearing after the word
“Offences”

S.29 substitute for the word “Part”
wherever it appears the word
“section”.

The Act (a) Part II is repealed and the
words “Part I” appearing
immediately after section 1 are
deleted;

(b) the heading Part III together
with section 38 are deleted;

(c) section 39 is renumbered
section 30.

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