Personal Protection Order
Many times, women who are suffering from domestic violence feel defenceless, but in Singapore, the Women’s Charter enables them to apply for a Personal Protection Order via a court order from the Family Court.
The Personal Protection Order is also augmented by the Domestic Exclusion Order as well as the Expedited order, all of which provide various avenues to protect women and children from family violence in the home.
Family Violence, in accordance with definitions under the Women’s Charter, is referred to as:
- Deliberately placing a family member in fear of being hurt
- Act in a manner that knowingly causes a family member hurt
- Restraining or detaining a family member against their will
- Causing family member distress by continually harassing them
A person can apply for a PPO against any family member they consider they need to protect themselves from:
- Spouse or ex-spouse
- Child, either biological, adopted or a stepchild
- Any other persons the court regards as a family member or relative
Personal Protection Order
A Personal Protection Order (PPO) is an avenue the law has provided for women to seek recourse when acts of violence have been committed against them. To be granted a PPO, you need to show that there is a domestic relationship between you and the aggressor. The Court can use the PPO to order the offender to stop using violence against another family member, or to incite or assist another person to commit violence against a family member.
The Women’s Charter also allows for a caregiver or guardian to apply for a PPO on behalf of either a child or a person who is incapacitated.
Domestic Exclusion Order
Other than the PPO, you can also apply for the Domestic Exclusion Order where you are granted access to your home and can remain there whilst the aggressor is ordered to leave the home and prohibited from entering the home or portions of it.
Another form of PPO is the Expedited Order. This is an urgent PPO that is normally granted before a divorce trial. The Family Court will issue this PPO if it is deemed that the victim is in danger of physical harm. The Expedited Order is temporary PPO and valid for 28 days or until the trial begins.
Breaching the Personal Protection Order
Should the personal Protection be breached, the protected spouse should immediately make a police report who will then investigate the matter and make a decision if the accused should be charged at the Criminal Justice Division as violating a personal protection order or an expedited order is a criminal offence under the Women’s Charter. The offence carries a punishment of a $2,000 fine, imprisonment of up to 6 months, or both. If the violation is committed a second or subsequent time, the offence is then punishable by a fine of up to $5,000, a 12 month imprisonment, or both.
Applying for a Personal Protection Order
Someone who feels threatened by a family member can apply for a Personal Protection Order at the Protection Order Services Unit of the Family Court. If, for any reason, the victim is not able to go to the Family Court, there are alternative avenues where she is able to make an application:
Once the Court is satisfied that family violence has been committed or is likely to be committed against the applicant, and that such an order is necessary for her safety and protection, the Court will then grant the protection order.