What is Family Violence?

Family violence consists of the following:

    • Wilfully or knowingly placing, or attempting to place, a family member in fear of hurt
    • Causing hurt to a family member by an act which is known or ought to have been known will result in hurt
      • Wrongful confining or restraining a family member against his will
    • Continual harassment with intent to cause or knowing that it is likely to cause anguish to a family member.

This is provided for by the Women’s Charter (CAP. 353), Section 64.

Who can apply for a Personal Protection Order (PPO)?

You can apply for a PPO against a family member who is related to you in any of the following manners:

    • Spouse or ex-spouse;
    • Child, including an adopted child or stepchild;
    • Parent;
    • In-law;
    • Sibling;
    • Any other relative who the court may regard as a member of your family

This is provided for by the Women’s Charter (CAP. 353), Section 64.


If you have a police report or a medical report, you should have them with you when you make the complaint. You can still file a complaint without these reports.

Who is the Complainant and the Respondent?

The “Complainant” is the person filing the application for the Personal Protection Order. The “Respondent” is the person against whom you are filing the application for the Personal Protection Order.

After submitting your application for maintenance (in the form of a Magistrate’s Complaint), you must swear or affirm your complaint before a Magistrate or District Judge – confirming the information you have provided is true and correct

If your application is in order, a summons will be issued to the respondent.

Service of the Summons

You will have to pay the prescribed fee for the issuance of the summons.

The Court’s process server will serve the summons personally on the respondent at the address you have provided in your Magistrate’s Complaint.


The summons cannot be served on a Respondent who is not in Singapore.

If you fail to turn up on any of your Court dates, your application may be struck out. This means that you will have to file another Magistrate’s Complaint, and the same fees will apply.

If you are the Respondent, your failure to turn up in court will result in the issuance of a Warrant of Arrest against you. 

 Court Mention / Counselling

During your next Court appearance, your case will be mentioned in Family Justice Courts 1 before a District Judge, who may refer parties to proceed for counselling with a professional Court Counsellor.

If there is no settlement, parties will be referred to Court 1 for the Judge to give directions to file their respective affidavits / statements or proof that they wish to rely upon at the trial.

What is an Undertaking:

The Respondent can give an undertaking not to commit family violence. When the Respondent gives an undertaking, the Court will record the undertaking. An undertaking does not mean there is a PPO Order granted.

Trial Proceedings

During the trial, parties would generally go through the following:

The Complainant takes the stand; is affirmed and she is cross examined by the Respondent or the Lawyer;

The Respondent then takes the stand, is affirmed and is cross examined by the Complainant or the lawyer.

After the Trial the Magistrate or District Judge will make the necessary orders. If the Judge has made a counselling order in addition to a personal protection order, your case will be fixed for review in Family Justice Courts 1 in three to six months’ time. Mandatory counselling is conducted by counsellors appointed by the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF)

What other orders can the Court make in a family violence case?

Expedited Order (EO) is a temporary PPO given if there is imminent danger. EO lasts for 28 days from the date it was served to the respondent and for period(s) as extended by the Court each time Parties attend a Court Mention

Domestic Exclusion Order (DEO) This when ordered excludes or restricts the respondent from entering the applicant’s residence or parts of the residence.

Our Criminal Lawyer, Mr Amarjit Singh Sidhu, has defended numerous clients over the years over a wide variety of offences. With vast experience in Singapore’s laws, including Family Law, Mr Amarjit Singh Sidhu will be able to provide valuable and timely advice for your situation. For more information, or if you have been caught in a similar situation, feel free to contact us for a consultation.

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