Anyone who has experienced domestic violence in any form must be aware that they have the right to be protected against it and that certain laws are in place to secure their well-being.
One such provision is the Personal Protection Order (PPO) which is a general order that prevents the person against whom the order is made from using violence against the victim.
Let us learn more about PPO, what its purpose is and how to secure one.
What is PPO?
Personal Protection Orders are given based on Section 65 (1) of the Women’s Charter, which reads:
“The court may, upon satisfaction on a balance of probabilities that family violence has been committed or is likely to be committed against a family member and that it is necessary for the protection of the family member, make a protection order restraining the person against whom the order is made from using family violence against the family member.”
This means that an act of family violence has been committed or will likely be committed against a family member which necessitates a PPO to be filed in the Family Court in order to ensure the protection of the victim family member.
Section 64 of the same charter enumerates those that fall under the category of “family member”.
As stated, a family member could be a spouse or a former spouse, a child of the person whether adopted or step, parents or parents-in-law of the person, sibling, or relative whom the court regards as a family member.
The same section also indicates acts that are considered “family violence” which is when a person does the following:
- consciously and deliberately putting or attempting to put a family member in fear of hurt
- inflicting hurt to a family member where the act is known or should have been known to cause hurt
- detaining a family member against their will
- incessant harassment that is certain to cause distress or suffering to a family member
Singapore citizens, all persons in Singapore, and all persons residing in Singapore including members of Muslim families in the country can file for PPO.
The family member victimized can apply for PPO in the Family Court where he/she will be referred to as the Complainant. In cases where violence was committed to a child or an incapacitated person, someone may apply on their behalf.
A police report or medical report related to the violence that can be used as evidence, as well as other pertinent materials and documents that can strengthen the case, should be gathered in order hasten the court process.
The Complainant is to file a completed and sworn Magistrate’s Complaint after which a summon will be issued to the offender who will be referred to as the Respondent.
The next court hearing will involve a mention, which is a short hearing where the judge refers the parties involved to counseling.
Should counseling fail, the Complainant and the Respondent are required to file affidavits or documents on oath that will support their case. Afterwards hearings will ensue with the Court deciding whether or not to make the necessary order.
It is important to remember that summons cannot be served to a Respondent who is not in the country. Also, should the Complainant fail to appear during any of the court dates, the application may be dismissed or struck-out causing the need to file a new Magistrate’s Complaint.
Breach if PPO is considered a criminal offense where the offender may be fined and/or imprisoned.
Family violence is an issue we take seriously. Our team of competent lawyers will work to guarantee that your rights are protected and your safety is guarded.
Getting our services will ensure a speedy issuance of a Personal Protection Order.
Contact us today!