LAW: PROTECTION FROM DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

The Law on Protection from Domestic Violence No. 15 came into effect in 2017, replacing an older 2008 version.

Domestic violence is defined as a crime against a person committed by a family member against any of its members.

The law defines members of the family as:

1. Husband and wife

2. Relatives in proportion to the third-degree who are married to the second degree

3. Relatives of the fourth degree and relatives in the marriage of the third and fourth grades if they reside in the family home

4. A child who is in the custody of a natural person (parent/guardian) or an alternative family in accordance with the provisions of the legislation in force

*First degree relatives refer to siblings, parents and/or off-spring, second-degree relatives refers to cousins, in-laws, grandparents while third-degree relatives refers to parents cousins and so on. 

The Family Protection Department is required to be provided with a case files of all personal status cases that find a case of family violence heard by the courts

The Family Protection Department is mandated to receive every complaint, notification, and request for assistance or protection related to domestic violence and to act in response as quickly as possible.

 In any case of family violence, the law requires all parties to be referred to the Family Protection Department for necessary actions.

The role of the Family Protection Department includes:

 Recording of the complaint or report in detail

 Organize the necessary records for each case

 Transfer the survivor to the nearest hospital or health centre, if necessary

 Transfer the injured person with consent to a secure location, if necessary

 Take action to protect informants and witnesses

DISPUTE SETTLEMENT PROCESS

Settlement of disputes in misdemeanour cases of violence involves the following:

 The consent of both parties or a legal representative in the case of minors or incompetent persons. In such cases, the Sharia Court appoints a representative

 The settlement does not include financial compensation

 The Family Protection Department is required to transfer the file to the prosecutor to take legal action for crimes that are more serious than misdemeanours

In resolving disputes between parties, the Family Protection Department is committed to:

 Call the parties, hold a settlement session, and record it in the file

 Take into consideration the status and circumstances of the family

 Record the signed settlement by both parties and accompany it with a report on the social status of the family prepared by the psychosocial specialist

The Family Protection Department has 14 days from the date of the first session to settle disputes.

This can be extended but only once and only for a similar period. In these cases, the law also requires the opinion of a psychosocial specialist.

Upon completion of the settlement process or the expiry of the legal period, the settlement file must be referred to the competent court regardless of whether or not the settlement is settled.

The court approves the settlement decision without requiring the presence of the parties within a maximum of seven days from the date the file is received and its decision to approve settlements becomes final.

If the court does not approve the settlement decision or if a decision is not reached, the settlement will be rejected by a reasoned decision within seven days.

If the court rejects the settlement, the parties have the right to appeal the decision.

The court’s decisions are based on the psychosocial specialist’s report and shall include any of the following measures in the approval of the decision:

 Compel the perpetrator of domestic violence to provide public service for a maximum of 40 working hours in one of the public facilities approved by the Minister and with the consent of the parties.

 Prohibit the perpetrator to visit any place for up to six months

 Provide the parties up to six months of access to programmes or psychological or social rehabilitation sessions

Any person who does not carry out any of the measures provided for, in whole or in part, risks facing imprisonment of up to three months.

The court shall have the power to review the prescribed measure.

SURVIVOR PROTECTION

The court can issue protection orders for survivors and any family member at the request of either of them and in the absence or presence of the perpetrator of domestic violence.

Orders may include:

 Not to assault or incite assault on the survivor or any family member

 Not to approach the place where the survivor or any member of the family lives

 Not to damage the personal belongings of the survivor or any family member

The survivor, any member of the family or a representative can enter the family home with a member of the Family Protection Department to take personal belongings.

Any order the Court considers to be effective to protect the survivor or potential survivors who may be harmed by their relationship with the perpetrator.

If the perpetrator violates any of the orders/their conditions, they can face punishment by imprisonment for up to one month, by a fine up to 100 dinars or both.

If the violation of the order is accompanied by violence against any person covered in the order, the perpetrator shall be punished by up to three months imprisonment, a fine not exceeding 200 dinars or both (subject to any heavier penalty provided for in any other law.)

If there are more than two violations of the protection order, the perpetrator of violence shall face imprisonment of up to three months and a fine up to 100 dinars.

LIMITATIONS OF THE LAW ON DOMESTIC VIOLENCE:

 The definition of violence is not in line with the UN Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women.

 The Declaration limits violence against women to three categories:

 violence perpetrated by the state

 violence occurring within the general community

 and violence in the family and the private sphere.

Jordan’s domestic violence law protects only women within the family and fails to guarantee protection without regard to marital status.

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