28 April 2008
Due to the emotional upheavals associated with domestic violence, Courts should anticipate occasionally receiving a series of applications and withdrawals from the same aggrieved person. Women in abusive relationships sometimes goes through phases whereby the perpetrator offers professions of love, appeals for mercy, and promises to change, resulting in the woman agreeing to give the man another chance but in reality simply prolonging the abuse.
Despite the drain on valuable judicial resources, Courts should exercise tolerance. The Act does not mandate that the Court dismiss an application solely because the aggrieved person has filed and withdrawn applications on one or more previous occasions. Neither does the law permit the Court to dismiss an application solely because the Court had dismissed prior applications. Every act of domestic violence constitutes a fresh cause of action.
Confronted with repeated applications and withdrawals, the Court may take suo motto action in referring the aggrieved person to support services like a counseling center, a shelter home, or a medical facility. The court may also seek the assistance of the Protection Officer in assessing the aggrieved woman’s particular circumstances.
Compassion and understanding, rather than irritation and intolerance, is the better approach.