Family Violence in Singapore

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This week’s episode of Channel 5’s On The Red Dot (aired on 18 November 2016) examined spousal abuse. 2 women shared their stories on domestic violence.

Jane (not her real name) suffered her husband’s abuse silently for several years. She was beaten up even when she was pregnant.

Jane described her ordeal: there were times “I couldn’t even scream because my kids were outside. I didn’t want to wake them up.” In one particularly horrifying instance, Jane’s husband kept hitting her until she told him that she was really going to die.

Jane admitted that she had heard stories about her husband being “hot-tempered” prior to the marriage but ignored them. After the acts of family violence, she engaged in “self-blame”, blaming herself for being the “reason” her husband turned out to be like that. Eventually, Jane told a doctor who treated her injuries on the family violence inflicted on her.

In another story, Mary (not her real name) endured domestic violence for a period 8 years. She came from Vietnam and her husband threatened that no one would believe her if she were to speak up on the family violence. Mary’s daughter’s school counsellor, who heard about Mary’s predicament from Mary’s daughter, referred her to the Centre for Promoting Alternatives to Violence (PAVE).

Both Jane and Mary have filed for a personal protection order (PPO). Jane intends to commence divorce proceedings while Mary has already started.

See: Alistair Ang, “Don’t stay silent, abused wives urge victims of family violence”, Channel News Asia, 18 November 2016

As a family lawyer in Singapore, I have seen many cases of domestic violence and spousal abuse. Such abuse does not only happen between spouses. I have witnessed cases which involved children, parents, parents-in-law, siblings and other relatives.

What should you do in the event of an abuse?

Do not stay silent!

Make an application for a personal protection order (PPO). You may wish to bring along any medical report/ police report which you may have.

A PPO can be applied for at:

  1. Family Justice Courts of Singapore
  2. Centre for Promoting Alternatives to Violence (PAVE)
  3. TRANS SAFE Centre
  4. Care Corner Project StART

How is family violence defined?

Family violence includes:

  1. Threats
  2. Hurt
  3. Wrongful confinement/ restraint
  4. Continual harassment

What orders can the Court give?

The Court can give one of the following:

  1. A personal protection order (PPO)
  2. An expedited order (if there is imminent danger)
  3. A domestic exclusion order (excluding the aggressor from use of the home or parts of the home)

What can happen to a person who breaches a PPO?

The person can be given a fine or imprisonment term or both.

See: Sections 64 to 67 of Women’s Charter (Singapore)

According to statistics, there were 2886 applications for legal protection against family violence at the Family Justice Courts in 2015. 75.6% were filed by women. If you are a victim of domestic violence, or you know of a victim, do not suffer in silent! Make an application for legal protection today.

You may also be interested to read more about:

1. Divorce and Separation

2. Annulment (Nullity) of Marriage

3. Children’s Issues

4. Matrimonial Assets

5. Maintenance Issues (Alimony)

6. Family Violence

For more information, please contact us here.

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