The five main legislations that provide the legal basis for helping victims of violence are the Women's Charter, the Penal Code, the Children and Young Persons Act, the Maintenance of Parents Act and the Mental Capacity Act. A synopsis of the various legislation relating to violence is provided below.
The contents are provided for general information only, and are not intended to contain specific legal advice for individual cases. A lawyer should be consulted should you require specific legal advice in your individual case.
The Women’s Charter has legislation in place to protect all victims against family violence, regardless of their gender. For example, a victim has the option to apply for a Personal Protection Order from the Family Court. The Personal Protection Order (PPO) serves to stop the abuser from using violence against the victim.
A guardian, relative, caregiver or another person, as appointed by the Minister, can make an application for a PPO for the following groups of victims:
Persons below 21 years
Persons with mental or physical disability
Person of ill-health or old age
The person can also apply for a Domestic Exclusion Order (DEO) that will grant the right of exclusive occupation to the applicant by excluding the person against whom the application is made from the shared residence. This is regardless of whether the shared residence is solely owned or leased by the applicant.
In cases where the Court is satisfied that the applicant is in imminent danger of family violence, it may grant an Expedited Order (EO). The EO is an immediate order granted and is valid for 28 days before the Protection Order (PO) except for mandatory counselling, shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction for a fine not exceeding $2,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months or to both, and in the case of a second or subsequent conviction, to a fine not exceeding $5,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months or to both.
The Court may also grant a Mandatory Counselling Order, referring the person against whom the order is made, or the protected person, or both and/or their children to attend counselling sessions provided by an agency approved by the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF), or as the Court may direct.
In cases where the perpetrator has caused substantial physical hurt to the victim(s), such as through the use of a weapon or where there is financial abuse, charges may be brought against him under the Penal Code and an arrest made based on those charges. Under the Penal Code, the following constitute offences:
Culpable Homicide not amounting to murder
Rash or Neglect Act not Amounting to Culpable Homicide
Voluntarily Causing Hurt
Voluntarily Causing Grievous Hurt
Voluntarily Causing Hurt/Grievous Hurt to Extort Property or to Constraint to an Illegal Act
Causing Hurt by Means of Poison with Intent to Commit an Offence
Voluntarily Causing Hurt/Grievous Hurt to Extort Confession or to Compel Restoration of Property
Causing Hurt/Grievous Hurt by Endangering Human Life or the Personal Safety of Others
Assualt/Criminal Force Except on Grave and Sudden Provocation
Assault/Criminal Force to Outrage Modesty
Outraging modesty in Certain Circumstances
The Penal Code also includes provisions against marital rape under Section 375, where a husband can be convicted of "rape" if he forces the wife to have sexual intercourse without her consent under various circumstances such as the wife having a Protection or Expedited Order against him. See "Why Seek Help" for details.
| Children and Young Persons Act|
The Children and Young Person’s Act (CYPA) has legal provisions for the protection of children and young persons (CYPs) against abuse, neglect and exploitation. The CYPA defines a child as one who is below 14 years of age and a young person as one who is aged from 14 to below 16 years old.
Child abuse may be in the form of physical abuse, neglect, sexual abuse, and emotional or psychological abuse. Under the CYPA, any act of child abuse or neglect, or behaviours that potentially expose the child or young person to abuse and neglect, are offences punishable under the law.
|Maintenance of Parents Act|
This allows the elderly to seek maintenance from their children if they are unable to provide for themselves. The Tribunal for the Maintenance of Parents has the jurisdiction to hear and determine the outcomes of all applications under this Act. Any person who is a permanent resident in Singapore, 60 years and above, and unable to maintain himself adequately can claim maintenance from their children, who are capable of supporting him but are not doing so. He may apply to the Tribunal for an order of maintenance. A person below 60 years may also apply if the Tribunal is satisfied that he is suffering from infirmity of mind or body or for other special reason which prevents him or makes it difficult for him to maintain himself
In cases involving persons who are mentally incapacitated, there are provisions under the Mental Capacity Act for the protection of persons who lack capacity. They are protected from physical, sexual, emotional abuse and neglect.