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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.


Violence among family members will be met with appropriate response by the law. The Women's Charter 1961 (2020 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 7 '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 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

Free Legal Advice or Legal Assistance on PPO Applications