In Singapore, ensuring the safety and well-being of individuals is a priority, especially within a family, the people who are obligated to love and protect one another. One legal mechanism in place to address issues of domestic violence, including harassment and potential of violence, is the personal protection order. A personal protection order (“PPO”) is a court order designed to safeguard an individual from harassment, violence, or the threat of violence. A PPO also includes other softer means to address any underlying issues within the family such as counselling and other social services. In this article, we will delve into the key requirements for obtaining a PPO in Singapore.
Definition of a Personal Protection Order
Before delving into the requirements, it’s crucial to understand what a personal protection order in Singapore entails. A PPO is a court order that restrains the perpetrator from using family violence against the victim or the family member concerned. This helps protect individuals from threats, violence, or harassment.
A PPO is issued when the court is satisfied that the perpetrator has committed or is likely to commit family violence against a family member and is necessary for the family member’s protection.
Who is considered a Family Member?
A crucial factor in obtaining a PPO in Singapore is the relationship between the applicant and the respondent as a personal protection order is only granted to family members who are victims of family violence. Under the Women’s Chater 1967, a family member includes the following persons:
- Spouse or ex-spouse;
- Child (including adopted child or step-child);
- Siblings; or
- Any other relative or person with incapacity that the court will consider a family member.
Who may apply for a Personal Protection Order in Singapore?
A PPO may be applied for by the following persons:
- The victims themselves, if they are not below 21 years old and is not incapacitated; or
- A guardian or relative or whoever is responsible for the care of the victim, if the victim is below 21 years old or is incapacitated.
Requirements for Obtaining a Personal Protection Order in Singapore
- Family Violence:
The first requirement for obtaining a PPO is that the court is satisfied that one family member committed or is likely to commit family violence against another family violence.
Family violence is defined in the Women’s Charter 1961 as one of the following four types of behaviour:
- Wilfully or knowingly placing, or attempting to place, a family member in fear of hurt;
- Causing hurt to a family member by such act which is known or ought to have been known would result in hurt;
- Wrongfully confining or restraining a family member against his will; or
- Causing continual harassment with intent to cause or knowing that it is likely to cause anguish to a family member.
Acts of self-defence or discipline of a child below 21 years old does not constitute acts of family violence.
- Necessary for the Protection of the Family Member:
The second requirement is that the court must be satisfied that a protection order is necessary for the protection of the family. The court will take into consideration a myriad of factors such as the surrounding circumstances and the background leading to incidents of family violence before determining whether a protection order is necessary for the protection of the family member.
Other Requirements of a Personal Protection Order in Singapore
- Provision of Evidence:
The strength of the evidence presented plays a crucial role in the court’s decision. It is essential for the applicant to provide clear and compelling evidence supporting their claim of harassment, violence, or the threat of violence.
- Follow-up Compliance:
Once a PPO is granted, both parties must comply with its terms. Any violations can result in legal consequences. It is important for the protected individual to promptly report any breaches to the authorities.
In conclusion, understanding and meeting these requirements is crucial for a successful application for a personal protection order in Singapore. It is crucial to act promptly and seek legal advice if necessary to ensure the safety and protection of those in need. The legal system in Singapore is committed to addressing such issues and providing a safeguard against harm in various relationships and circumstances.