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Pro Bono: Family Violence

Family Violence: Introduction

This library guide collates relevant resources relating to family violence and the application process for protection orders from various government sites and online sources.

Overview

Violence among family members will be met with appropriate response by the law. The Women's Charter (Cap 353, 2009 Rev Ed) empowers the Family Justice Courts to make protection orders that protect family members from violent conduct and threats of such which emanate from within the victim's own family under Part VII 'Protection of Family'. These provisions apply to all persons in Singapore, including Muslims and non-Muslims.

The provisions address the specific situation where a member of a family inflicts or threatens to inflict violence on another member. This situation is distinguishable from violence inflicted on a stranger. They are also of a hybrid character, containing features from both civil and criminal law.

S 65(1) of the Women's Charter in particular empowers the Family Justice Courts to make a personal protection order if an act of family violence has been or is likely to be committed, and it is necessary for one's protection for the order to be made.

S 64 defines the type of conduct which constitutes "family violence". 

The originating process for applications for protection orders remains by the criminal process, however an application for a protection order itself is a civil proceeding. The types of protection orders include:

  • Personal Protection Order (PPO): An order to restrain from violence (s 65(1));
  • Expedited Order (EO): A temporary PPO filed in cases where the judge finds there is imminent danger of violence being committed (s 66(1));
  • Domestic Exclusion Order (DEO): An order granting exclusive occupation of shared residence (s 65(5)(a));
  • Counselling Order (CGO): An order for counselling provided by such body as the court may direct (s 65(5)(b)).

Breach of these orders may be sanctioned under s 65(8).

(Source: Leong Wai Kum, Elements of Family Law, 3rd Ed (2018))

 

Resources for Family Violence Matters

Family Justice Courts - Family Protection
The Family Justice Courts of Singapore addresses some of the commonly asked questions on proceedings against family violence. See in particular:

MSF Family Violence Resources
Information provided by the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) on family violence issues and contact points:

National Family Violence Networking System (NFVNS) - Break the Silence Against Family Violence
The National Family Violence Networking System (NFVNS) is led by the Family Violence Dialogue Group (FVDG). The FVDG is led by MSF and the Singapore Police Force, and comprises representatives from the courts and various social service public agencies. This site provides guidance and support for tackling family violence, including a national hotline as a contact point. See in particular:

1. Family Justice Courts (FJC)
The Family Justice Courts (FJC) are established pursuant to the Family Justice Act in 2014 and restructured the family justice system by bringing together all family-related work under a specialised body of courts. The Family Protection Centre of the FJC aims to offer "victims" of family violence and perpetrators alike a private and calm environment where complaints can be handled as seamlessly and comprehensively as possible.
Add: Family Protection Centre, Level 1, Family Justice Courts @ Havelock, No. 3 Havelock Square. Singapore 059725
Contact: FJCourts_MaintPos@fjcourts.gov.sg
Tel: (65) 6435 5077

2. iFAMS (Integrated Family Application Management System) 
The new online system, iFAMS, provides an alternative to the applicant seeking a personal protection order of having to personally make a complaint. Once the application is made it may still be directed to follow the process provided under statute.
W: iFAMS - Personal Protection Order ApplicationiFAMS FAQ
Contact: ifamshelpdesk@ecquaria.com (Technical Support)
Tel: (65) 6435 5077

3. National Family Violence Networking System (NFVNS)
The NFVNS, jointly led by MSF and the Singapore Police Force, focuses on strategic development and planning to combat family violence on a policy level and maintains the national hotline COMCARE that assists with such cases.
Add: Refer to List of MSF Family Service Centres in Singapore
Tel: 1800 222 0000 (COMCARE) ; 999 (Police)

4. Family Violence Specialist Centres (FVSCs)
MSF also partners with various approved Family Violence Specialist Centres (FVSCs), whom applicants may approach to file their PPOs. Applications for a PPO can be made via video conference with the Family Courts at the following FVSCs
:

a. Centre for Promoting Alternatives to Violence (PAVe)
PAVE is Singapore's pioneer FVSC which provides services for perpetrators, survivors and vulnerable family members such as children and the elderly in dealing with violence. Services include counselling, advice, PPO applications and other education and research programmes. Application of PPO is available on Mon-Thu only.
Add: Blk 211 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 3, #01-1446 Singapore 560211
W: http://pave.org.sg/our-services-fvsc.php
Contact: intakeFVSC@pave.org.sg
Tel: (65) 6555 0390

b. TRANS SAFE Centre
TRANS SAFE Centre is a Voluntary Welfare Organisation which aims to promote safe relationship in families by providing help to victims of abuse, persons who abuse and their families who are affected by the abuse. Services include referrals, counselling, PPO applications and other public education, training and research activities. Application of PPO is available on Mon and Wed-Fri only.
Add: Blk 410 Bedok North Avenue 2 #01-58, Singapore 460410
Contact: transsafe@trans.org.sg
Tel: (65) 6449 9088

c. Care Corner Project StART
Project StART is a community-based agency that specialises in protection, safety planning and violence control planning in support of people affected by domestic violence. Services include public education, PPO applications and advisory projects. Application of PPO is available on Mon, Tue and Thu only.
Add: Blk 7A Commonwealth Ave #01-672, Singapore 141007
Contact: projectstart@carecorner.org.sg 
Tel: (65) 6476 1482

5. Free Legal Advice or Legal Assistance on PPO Applications

a. Legal Aid Bureau
The Legal Aid Bureau advances access to justice for applicants with limited means, including providing legal representation and advice, as set out in the Legal Aid and Advice Act.
Add: Ministry of Law Services Centre, 45 Maxwell Road, #07-11 The URA Centre (East Wing), Singapore 069118
Contact: Contact Us@OneMinLaw
Tel: 1800 2255 529 (1800-CALL-LAW)

b. Community Justice Centre
The Community Justice Centre (CJC) is a community partnership between the public sector, the philanthropic sector, and the legal profession rendering assistance to Litigants-in-Person (LiPs) in need. It administers the On-site Legal Advice Scheme which provides immediate basic legal advice and directions to LiPs. Limited 20 minute slots are available daily on a ‘first-come, first-served’ basis. No appointment is required and is subjected to the availability of slots. 
Add: CJC Help Centre, Basement 1 of the State Courts Towers, 1 Havelock Square, Singapore 059724
Contact: help@cjc.org.sg
Tel: (65) 6557 4100

c. Community Legal Clinic
The Law Society's Community Legal Clinics allow one to see a lawyer on a one-to-one basis for 20 minutes and have free legal advice. Registration is required before an appointment is made, via phone, email or walk-in appointment at the CJC (see above).
Add: One of the 4 assigned Community Legal Clinics upon registration
Contact: enquiry@lawsocprobono.org
Tel: (65) 6536 0650

Refer to the following statutes and related subsidiary legislation on Singapore Statutes Online:

Key Legislation

Practice Directions and Circulars

Please refer to the Family Justice Courts Legislation help page for a list of Rules, Practice Directions, Circulars and amendments

 

Families in Conflict: Theories and approaches in mediation and counselling - Singapore Subordinate Courts : Butterworths Asia, 2000.

Elements of family law in Singapore - Leong, Wai Kum. Singapore : LexisNexis, 2018.

Image result for know the law now

Know the Law Now 

Created by the Law Society Pro-Bono Services

Chapter 19 contains information on Domestic Violence.

 

Legal Clinic Manual

Published by the Law Society of Singapore, this book contains detailed guidance to volunteer lawyers.

The juvenile issues section on care and protection contains information on Domestic Violence.

If a password is required for access, NUS Law students may request it from the Centre for Pro Bono & Clinical Legal Education (probono@nus.edu.sg).