Applying For Personal Protection Order
Domestic violence in Singapore is a familiar subject that we hear far too often. Individuals searching legal websites for information are often in desperate need of assistance to find a solution for themselves and their loved ones.
It is only natural for you to want to protect something that you love. What more if they are your children, your flesh and blood. It will not matter if the procedure is tedious or time consuming, you will want to give only your utmost best to your children.
If you are living in fear of your life please reach out to someone. Anyone. If you are in danger or have been a victim of violence or abuse, do not wait for it to escalate. Put a stop to it now. Get help today.
Unfortunately, in our line of work, we do see applications for a Personal Protection Order being filed on a regular basis.
Should you feel that there is abuse or sense any kind of danger coming from your partner or any family member, you might want to consider applying for Personal Protection Order. So, what is Personal Protection Order or known as PPO?
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What Is Personal Protection Order?
Personal Protection Order is an order from court to stop threats or violence against an individual. Personal Protection Order or known as PPO is to help in protecting you from someone who is seen as a threat or impose violence to you or your children (below 21 years of age).
If you feel that your safety or that of your children are at risk, you can get a PPO.
Before we discuss personal protection order, it is important to know what is the definition of family violence.
Definition Of Family Violence
The Women’s Charter defines it as follows:
Section 64: “family violence” means the commission of any of the following acts:
(a) wilfully or knowingly placing, or attempting to place, a family member in fear of hurt;
(b) causing hurt to a family member by such act which is known or ought to have been known would result in hurt;
(c) wrongfully confining or restraining a family member against his will; or
(d) causing continual harassment with intent to cause or knowing that it is likely to cause anguish to a family member,
The next step is to know who is a family member:
“family member”, in relation to a person, means:-(a) a spouse or former spouse of the person;
(b) a child of the person, including an adopted child and a step-child;
(c) a father or mother of the person;
(d) a father-in-law or mother-in-law of the person;
(e) a brother or sister of the person; or
(f) any other relative of the person or an incapacitated person who in the opinion of the court should, in the circumstances, in either case be regarded as a member of the family of the person;
You can choose to get Personal Protection Order in any or a combination of these scenarios:
- There is display of threatening, abusive or insulting behaviour or communication with intention of causing distress.
- When you are being stalked.
- Knowingly place a family member in fear of hurt
- Causing hurt to a family member
- Restraining a family member against their will
- Continuous harassment with intent to cause fear and anguish to family member
If you are not recognised as a family member then you may be able to avail yourself of the Protection from Harassment Act (POHA).
It is interesting to note that PPOs are not just applied to protect the women from their husbands, but there are PPOs being taken by husbands to protect themselves from their wives or any family member who pose a threat to them.
What Should I Do If I’m Abused?
For a case of abuse or beating occurs, the person should make a police report and also consult the doctor should there be any physical evidence that an abuse has taken place. With the medical reports, it will support their application for a Personal Protection Order and it is easier for the courts to make a sound judgement.
There are several ways to apply for Personal Protection Order (PPO). One is through iFAMS, which requires you to login using your SingPass, you may go direct to Family Protection Centre @ Family Justice Courts or through Family Violence Specialist Centres (FVSC) such as
- Centre for Promoting Alternatives to Violence (PAVe)
- TRANS SAFE Centre (http://www.transfamilyservices.org.sg)
- Care Corner Project StART
Other than Personal Protection Order, there are other forms of orders that can be applied for depending on the situation such as
- Expedited Order or EO. Expedited Order is a temporary Personal Protection Order granted if there is imminent danger which lasts 28 days from the date it is served to the respondent.
- Domestic Exclusion Order or DEO. Domestic Exclusion Order is when the respondent is restricted or excluded from entering the applicant’s residence or part of it.
According to statistics, the majority of individuals who make an application for such protection orders are female (extracted from Ministry of Social and Family Development)
Based on statistics by Ministry of Social and Family Development, the number of PPOs taken by either male or female is almost comparable.
Essentially, the Courts will look at 2 things. First, was family violence committed. If it wasn’t then the case is dismissed there and then, and there is no need to discuss the whether or not an order is necessary.
However if the Courts finds that there is family violence, the case does not end automatically as the Courts will then have to make a finding as to whether or not an Order is necessary in the circumstances of a case.
Examples where an order may not be necessary may include parties living separately without any further episode of violence, the absence of children and one off minor incidents of violence.
How Long Does It Take To Apply For Personal Protection Order?
A PPO may normally take about 3-4 months to be solved from the date you apply for it. An Expedited Order may be given in the interim to protect the Complainant ( the party applying for the PPO).
As you may have noted from the above, family violence does not necessarily need to include a physical act. It is important to know the purpose and rationale of applying for PPOs.
PPO is not available for you to take revenge on another party or use it as a sword or a leverage. The Courts will not entertain such matters and it is likely that if you are unable to prove your case as per the Women;s Charter that your case will be dismissed.
Evidence such as police reports and doctors’ reports are essential but they may not always be absolutely necessary. Once again this goes on a case to case basis.
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Should any of these orders (PPO, EO or DEO) is disobeyed, the complainant should immediately report to the police. The police will then conduct an investigation to determine whether or not to charge the offender for the breach of order.
Any breach of this order is considered as a criminal offence and the offender can be fined of up to $2000 for a first conviction or a prison term of up to six months or both.
For repeated offences, the offender can be fined of up to $5000 or prison term not exceeding 12 months or both. So before you act rashly to breach of any these orders as the penalties are pretty hefty and will have a lasting record for you as well.
Some may wish to also apply for a Domestic Exclusion Order which is essentially an Order to limit someone within the house or exclude him or her from the house entirely. This is not an easy order to obtain and you will need a PPO against someone before applying for a DEO.
Is It Compulsory To Engage A Lawyer?
It is not compulsory for you to engage a lawyer but it will be advisable because PPO cases (Personal Protection Order) are heard via a trial and it is essential to know how to prepare your questions in order to prove your case.
There will also be cross-examination by both parties if need be.
You will need to know how to apply the law on the facts. It is also helpful to prepare oral or written submissions at the end of the trial to close your case in the best of manner.
Our fees are reasonable and affordable and we provide a free first consultation to first understand your case and thereafter explain to you the fees involved.
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