Personal Protection Order (PPO) Lawyers in Singapore: Protecting Your Safety and Well-being

In cases of family violence, the safety and well-being of individuals should be the utmost priority. No one should have to suffer in silence. If you find yourself in a situation where your safety is in danger, it is crucial to seek immediate assistance by contacting the police at 999.

At the same time, legal action can be taken to protect your well-being, such as obtaining a Personal Protection Order (PPO) against an abusive family member. We hereby provide comprehensive information about PPOs in Singapore, the process of obtaining them, and the importance of seeking legal assistance to safeguard your rights and safety.

Understanding Personal Protection Orders (PPOs)

Definition of a Personal Protection Order (PPO)

A PPO is a legal order issued by the family court in Singapore. Its primary purpose is to protect individuals who are victims of family violence.

Family Violence and Its Forms

Family violence encompasses various forms of abuse, including physical, psychological, emotional, and financial. It involves acts or behaviors that intentionally or knowingly cause fear, hurt, confinement, or harassment to a family member.

Signs and Impact of Family Violence

Recognizing the signs of family violence is crucial for taking necessary action. Victims may experience physical injuries, emotional distress, and changes in behavior. The impact of family violence can be far-reaching, affecting one’s self-esteem, mental health, and overall well-being.

 

Applying for a Personal Protection Order (PPO)

Initial Steps and Consultation with a PPO Lawyer

Seeking legal advice and representation is essential when applying for a PPO. A knowledgeable PPO lawyer can guide you through the process and ensure your rights are protected.

Gathering Evidence and Documentation

Collecting evidence is crucial for supporting your PPO application. This includes documenting incidents, obtaining police reports and medical reports, preserving text messages or emails, and gathering witness statements.

Filing the PPO Application

Submitting the PPO application involves completing necessary forms and providing accurate and detailed information about the abusive behavior and its impact on your safety.

Court Proceedings and Supporting the PPO Application

Court proceedings for a PPO application may involve presenting evidence, witness testimony, and legal arguments. Your lawyer will advocate on your behalf to demonstrate the need for protection.

Obtaining the Personal Protection Order (PPO)

If the court finds that family violence has been committed or is likely to be committed, it may grant a PPO. The order will outline the terms and conditions to protect your safety and well-being.

 

Breach of Personal Protection Order (PPO) and Legal Recourse

Understanding PPO Breach

A PPO breach occurs when the abuser fails to comply with the terms and conditions set forth in the order. This can include actions such as contacting or approaching the protected individual.

Reporting a PPO Breach

If a PPO is breached, it is crucial to report the incident to the police. Providing them with necessary evidence will aid in their investigation and potential legal proceedings.

Police Investigation and Legal Proceedings

Once a PPO breach is reported, the police will conduct an investigation. If sufficient evidence is found, the offender may face arrest and charges related to the breach.

 

Seeking Support and Counselling when you are going through PPO proceedings

Importance of Emotional Support

Going through the process of obtaining a PPO and dealing with family violence can be emotionally challenging. Seeking emotional support from helplines, counseling services, or support groups can provide crucial assistance.

Available Support Services in Singapore

Various organizations and support services in Singapore offer counseling, therapy, and helplines for individuals experiencing family violence. These services can provide a safe space to share experiences, seek guidance, and heal.

In cases of spousal abuse and family violence, taking proactive steps to protect your safety and well-being is essential. Obtaining a Personal Protection Order (PPO) through legal channels can offer the necessary legal protection and peace of mind. It is crucial to consult with a PPO lawyer who can guide you through the process, ensure your rights are upheld, and advocate for your safety.

Remember, you are not alone in this journey. There are support services available to provide emotional assistance and help you navigate the challenges. By seeking legal protection and emotional support, you can take steps towards a brighter and safer future.

 

PPO Case Examples handled by our PPO lawyers

  • PPO Case example 1: Sarah and John are married and have been experiencing escalating conflicts in their relationship. John’s temper issues have led to incidents of physical violence against Sarah. Sarah fears for her safety and decides to seek legal protection by applying for a PPO. The court grants Sarah a PPO, restraining John from committing family violence. The PPO helps ensure Sarah’s safety and provides a legal recourse in case John violates the order.
  • PPO Case Example 2: Lisa has been subjected to persistent stalking and harassment by her ex-husband, Michael, following their divorce. Michael constantly follows Lisa, sends threatening messages, and shows up uninvited at her workplace and social events. Fearful for her well-being, Lisa files for a PPO. The court issues a PPO against Michael, prohibiting him from committing family violence against Lisa. The PPO helps restore a sense of security for Lisa and prevents further harassment.
  • PPO Case Example 3: Emily is a concerned mother who suspects that her former husband, David, is engaging in harmful behavior towards their child. She notices signs of physical abuse during David’s access periods. Worried about her child’s safety, Emily seeks legal intervention and applies for a PPO. The court grants Emily a PPO. The PPO helps protect the child’s well-being and ensures a safer environment during access.
  • PPO Case Example 4: Mrs. Lee, an elderly widow, lives with her adult son, Richard. Over time, Mrs. Lee experiences verbal and physical abuse at the hands of Richard. Concerned for her safety, Mrs. Lee seeks assistance and files for a PPO. The court grants Mrs. Lee a PPO, which restricts Richard from all abuse. The PPO safeguards Mrs. Lee’s rights and provides her with legal protection against elder abuse.

Frequently Asked Questions and Answers for PPO Proceedings in Singapore

Q: What is a Personal Protection Order (PPO)?

A: A PPO is a court order that aims to protect a person from family violence by restraining the offender from committing acts of family violence.

 

Q: Who can apply for a PPO?

A: In Singapore, a Personal Protection Order (PPO) may be applied against the following categories of persons:

  • father or mother.
  • rothers or sisters.
  • spouse or former spouse.
  • father-in-law or mother-in-law.
  • child, including an adopted child or stepchild.
  • Any other relative who, in the court’s opinion, should be regarded as a member of your family given the circumstances.

 

Q: How can I apply for a PPO?

A: You can apply for a PPO by filing an application at the Family Justice Courts in Singapore. It is advisable to seek legal assistance to guide you through the process.

 

Q: What should I include in my PPO application?

A: Your PPO application should include relevant details about the incidents of family violence, and supporting evidence.

 

Q: What factors will the court consider when deciding whether to grant a PPO?

A: The court will consider various factors, including the nature and seriousness of the violence, the risk of future harm, the welfare of any children involved, and any other relevant circumstances.

 

Q: Can I get a PPO against someone who is not a family member?

A: PPOs are primarily for protection against family violence; hence you cannot get a PPO against someone who is not a family member.

 

Q: How long does a PPO last?

A: A PPO is typically granted for life unless a specific duration is issued by the Courts. However, the court has the discretion to extend or vary the order based on the circumstances.

 

Q: What happens if the offender violates the terms of the PPO?

A: If the offender breaches the PPO, you should report the violation to the police immediately. The offender may face legal consequences, including fines and imprisonment.

 

Q: Can I request additional conditions or modifications to the PPO?

A: yes, depending on the circumstances and as ordered by the court.

 

Q: Can I apply for a PPO on behalf of my child?

A: Yes, as a parent or guardian, you can apply for a PPO on behalf of your child if they are a victim of family violence or at risk of harm.

 

Q: What if I need urgent protection before the court hearing?

A: If you require immediate protection, you can apply for an Expedited Order, which provides temporary protection until the court can hear your application for a PPO.

Q: Will my personal information be kept confidential during the PPO proceedings?

A: The court proceedings and related documents are generally confidential. However, certain parties involved, such as the police and relevant agencies, may have access to the information.

 

Q: Can I appeal a decision regarding a PPO?

A: Yes, you can appeal the court’s decision regarding a PPO. It is essential to seek legal advice if you wish to appeal to understand the process and requirements.

 

Q: Can a PPO be enforced outside of Singapore?

A: PPOs granted in Singapore are generally enforceable within the country only.

 

Q: Can I apply for a PPO against someone who is not a Singapore citizen or resident?

A: Yes, you can apply for a PPO regardless of the offender’s citizenship or residency status if they have engaged in family violence within Singapore.

 

Q: Can the terms of a PPO be modified if circumstances change?

A: Yes, if there are significant changes in circumstances, you can apply to the court to modify the terms of the PPO. Consult a lawyer to assist you with the application.

 

Q: Can I withdraw or cancel a PPO?

A: Yes, you can apply to the court to withdraw or cancel a PPO. The court will consider your request and assess whether it is in the best interest of your safety and well-being.

 

Q: What support services are available for PPO applicants?

A: Various support services, such as counseling, shelters, and helplines, are available to assist PPO applicants. These services can provide emotional support, guidance, and resources.

 

Q: Can I represent myself in PPO proceedings, or do I need a lawyer?

A: While you have the right to represent yourself, it is advisable to engage a lawyer who specializes in family law to ensure your rights are protected and to navigate the legal process effectively.

 

Q: What should I do if I need immediate assistance or am in imminent danger?

A: If you are in immediate danger, contact the police at 999 for emergency assistance. They can provide immediate protection and guide you on the necessary steps to ensure your safety.

Glossary of Terms relevant to PPO proceedings

Personal Protection Order (PPO): A court order issued in Singapore to protect a person from family violence by restraining the abuser from committing acts of violence.

Family Violence: The legal definition of family violence is in section 64 of the Women’s Charter. Under section 64, family violence is defined as:

  • Willfully 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.

Complainant: The person applying for a PPO and seeking protection from family violence.

Respondent: The person against whom the PPO is sought, the alleged perpetrator of family violence.

Domestic exclusion order: (DEO) A DEO is an order excluding or restricting the respondent from entering all or part of the applicant’s or the protected family member’s residence.

Breach: The act of violating the terms and conditions of a PPO by the respondent.

Application: The formal request made by the complainant to the Family Justice Courts for the issuance of a PPO.

Affidavit: A written statement made under oath by the complainant, providing details and evidence of the family violence experienced.

Expedited Order: A temporary PPO issued by the court to provide immediate protection until a full hearing can take place. Ceases after 28 days from the order’s date or when the PPO application hearing commences, unless extended by the court. Issued when there is an imminent danger of family violence being committed against the applicant.

Full Hearing: A formal court proceeding where both the complainant and the respondent present their cases before a judge in order to determine whether a PPO should be granted.

Evidence: Information, documents, or testimony presented to support the claims of either party in a PPO proceeding.

Cross-Examination: The questioning of a witness by the opposing party or his lawyers to challenge their credibility or gather information.

Undertaking: A voluntary agreement made by the respondent to abide by certain conditions without the need for a formal court order.

Variation: A request made by either party to modify or change the terms of an existing PPO.

Recission: The cancellation or termination of a PPO by the court.

Recent Decisions of the Family Justice Courts in relation to PPO hearings: Understanding Family Violence

  • WKZ v WKY [2023] SGFC 7 – Wife v Husband

  • The Family Court decided on 15 March 2023 to grant a personal protection order (PPO) for the wife’s protection against her husband. The court found that there were sufficient grounds and the PPO was necessary.
  • The couple had been married since December 2014 and had one child together. The wife moved out of their matrimonial home following an alleged incident of family violence on 7 July 2022. The wife applied for the PPO on 9 August 2022, stating that she had been a victim of verbal and mental abuse, in addition to physical violence.
  • The court examined the evidence and testimonies to determine if family violence had been committed or was likely to be committed, and if the PPO was necessary for the wife’s protection. Family violence was defined as willfully or knowingly placing a family member in fear of hurt, causing hurt to a family member, wrongfully confining or restraining a family member, or causing continual harassment with the intent to cause anguish.
  • The court found that the husband had committed family violence in several incidents, including a slap on the face, a body-crushing incident, and a previous incident involving throwing a water bottle and restraining the wife’s wrist. The court considered the husband’s actions, intent, and the impact on the wife’s well-being in determining that family violence had occurred.
  • Regarding the harassment aspect, the court reviewed the text messages sent by the husband to the wife, which contained vulgarities and demeaning insults over a sustained period. The court concluded that this constituted continual harassment intended to cause anguish.
  • Based on the evidence, the court found that family violence had been committed and that the PPO was necessary to protect the wife. The PPO aimed to establish a strong boundary against unacceptable actions and prevent future violence. The court emphasized the importance of protecting the child from witnessing such conflicts and urged the parties to consider the child’s welfare.
  • In granting the PPO, the court acknowledged that divorce proceedings were ongoing and clarified that the PPO should not be used prejudicially in the context of divorce but primarily to protect against family violence. The court encouraged both parties to seek counseling and work towards positive co-parenting.
  • WLP v WLQ [2023] SGFC 10 – Brother v Brother

  • This case involves two brothers, aged 56 and 54, who co-own a flat with their 99-year-old mother. There is a history of family violence between the brothers, with each having obtained personal protection orders (PPOs) and domestic exclusion orders (DEOs) against each other. Over 40 sets of proceedings have been initiated between them seeking protection from family violence.
  • On 17 August 2021, the younger brother obtained a DEO against the elder brother for the entire flat, following continued family violence. The elder brother had been absent during the trial, and the court proceeded to grant the DEO for one year. The elder brother had the option to apply to have it set aside.
  • The elder brother made an application to revoke the DEO but failed to comply with court directions and subsequently applied afresh twice. Meanwhile, the elder brother was excluded from the flat, as the locks were changed by the younger brother.
  • After the 2021 DEO expired on 16 August 2022, the elder brother attempted to return to the flat but was refused entry by the younger brother. The elder brother then initiated proceedings to obtain a DEO to exclude the younger brother from the entire flat.
  • The court acknowledged that the exclusion of the elder brother from the flat after the 2021 DEO had expired could be considered “family violence.” However, it found that the requested DEO to exclude the younger brother from the flat was not necessary or proportionate for the elder brother’s protection or personal safety. The court emphasized that protection orders are not intended to be punitive and suggested that the elder brother seek legal remedies as a co-owner and consider finding separate accommodation for the sake of resolving the dispute.
  • The court expressed concern about the prolonged animosity between the brothers and their involvement in numerous court proceedings, urging them to consider separate living arrangements for the benefit of their elderly mother.
  • WMG v WMH [2023] SGFC 13 – Wife & Child v Husband

  • In the case of WMG v WMH [2023] SGFC 13, the court examined allegations of family violence involving a child and decided whether a Personal Protection Order (PPO) was necessary. This article provides a summary of the judgment to shed light on the court’s findings.
  • The Wife left home with the couple’s 5-year-old son and sought a PPO against the Husband on September 8, 2022. The Husband consented to the PPO for the Wife but disputed allegations of family violence against their son, leading to a trial focused on this specific issue.
  • During the initial hearing, the Husband sought an adjournment to engage a new solicitor, and due to incomplete documents and representation issues, the hearing was adjourned. Despite receiving notice, the Husband was absent during the subsequent hearing, and the court proceeded with the application in his absence.
  • The Wife alleged that on September 5, 2022, the Husband, while caring for their child, fed him only Chinese medicine, nuts, and one biscuit, which made the child vomit and fall ill. She also claimed that the Husband scratched the child’s right chest, causing an injury. The Husband, through his affidavit, explained that he provided the child with limited food due to his illness and stated that the child’s scratches were self-inflicted.
  • The court acknowledged that the Husband did not deny feeding the child as described by the Wife. However, even if accepting the Wife’s version, the court determined that inadequate feeding, while potentially indicative of the Husband’s caregiving abilities, did not constitute family violence. Regarding the scratches on the child’s chest, the court considered the Wife’s documentary evidence, including a police report and a medical report confirming the child’s injuries consistent with blunt trauma. Based on this unchallenged evidence, the court concluded that the Husband caused the scratches.
  • Considering the evidence and the child’s welfare, the court granted the PPO in favor of the child. Although the Wife conceded that this incident was isolated, the lack of other explanations or evidence led the court to err on the side of caution and provide protection for the child.
  • WMG v WMH [2023] SGFC 13, the court examined allegations of family violence against a child and made a decision based on the evidence presented. The court granted a PPO in favor of the child, taking into account the child’s well-being and the absence of alternative explanations. This case highlights the court’s commitment to protecting vulnerable individuals in situations involving family violence.

PPO Law Revised in 2023: Proposed Changes to Boost Protection for Family Violence Victims and Rehabilitation for Abusers

https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/politics/proposed-changes-to-boost-protection-for-family-violence-victims-rehab-for-abusers

In recent developments, significant changes have been proposed to enhance the protection of victims of family violence in Singapore. These proposed amendments, part of the Women’s Charter (Family Violence and Other Matters) Amendment Bill, aim to strengthen the effectiveness of Personal Protection Orders (PPOs) and provide better support for survivors. Let’s explore these proposed changes in more detail:

Stay-Away Provision and No-Contact Provision

The Bill introduces a stay-away provision, which prohibits abusers from being near the survivor’s home or frequented places. This measure aims to prevent abusers from gaining access to victims outside their homes, including public areas. Additionally, a no-contact provision will be implemented, preventing abusers from visiting or communicating with survivors. These provisions aim to create a safe and secure environment for survivors, free from the presence and influence of their abusers.

 

Mandatory Treatment Provision

The proposed changes also address the issue of abusers with psychiatric conditions contributing to their violent behavior. The court may issue a mandatory treatment provision if the perpetrator is found to have a psychiatric condition that influences their actions warranting the need for a protection order. This provision emphasizes the importance of addressing the underlying causes of family violence and promoting rehabilitation for abusers.

 

Lowering the Minimum Age for PPO Application

Currently, individuals between the ages of 18 to 20 who are unmarried need to rely on others, such as their guardians, to apply for a PPO on their behalf. The Bill seeks to lower the minimum age for PPO application to 18, allowing younger survivors of abuse to seek protection and represent themselves in PPO proceedings. This change empowers young adults to take proactive steps in protecting their well-being without depending solely on others.

 

Updated Definition of Family Violence

The definition of family violence, as outlined in the Women’s Charter, will be expanded to include a wider range of violence, such as sexual, emotional, and psychological abuse. The current definition encompasses causing hurt, placing a family member in fear of hurt, and wrongfully confining a family member against their will. The updated definition acknowledges the various forms of abuse survivors may experience and ensures comprehensive protection under the law.

Protection of Survivors’ Identities

To safeguard survivors’ identities, the proposed amendments include strict provisions to prohibit the publication or broadcast of any information that identifies or is likely to identify survivors without their consent. This includes online platforms and social media, where identifying information may pose additional risks to survivors’ safety. The court may order the removal of any social media posts or content that could potentially reveal the survivor’s identity.

 

Enhanced Rehabilitation and Penalties for Perpetrators

The Bill emphasizes the importance of rehabilitation for perpetrators of family violence. Counseling provisions will be expanded to include a wider range of programs, treatments, and interventions aimed at promoting rehabilitation and reducing the risk of violence in future relationships. Furthermore, penalties for breaching family violence-related protection orders will be significantly increased, imposing heavier fines and potential jail time for offenders.

It is important to note that these proposed changes are aimed at strengthening the protection and support for victims of family violence in Singapore. The Bill’s introduction follows extensive public consultation and seeks to address the evolving needs and challenges faced by survivors and their families. By bolstering the legal framework and rehabilitation efforts, these amendments aim to create a safer and more secure environment for all individuals affected by family violence.

 

Your Trusted Legal Partner: Proven Excellence in PPO Applications

The Straits Times, in collaboration with Statista, has recognized I.R.B Law as one of the leading law firms in Singapore. This honor mirrors our unwavering commitment to legal excellence and our ability to deliver exceptional legal services tailored to our clients’ unique needs.

Don’t face the daunting process of an annulment alone. Contact us today to speak with one of our experienced annulment lawyers to discuss your options. We usually offer a free initial consultation, giving you a risk-free opportunity to better understand the potential course of action for your case. Trust in our dedicated team’s ability to guide you through this complex process with competence, compassion, and respect. Our team’s dedication, coupled with our experience in dealing with diverse and complex annulment cases, makes us your ideal ally in seeking a successful resolution to your marriage annulment process in Singapore.

 

Author: Mohamed Baiross/IRB LAW LLP

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Meet Some of the PPO Lawyers at IRB

Mohamed Baiross

Founding Partner

Baiross is the managing partner of IRB Law LLP. He is an experienced lawyer with an excellent reputation across a broad selection of practice areas including divorce, insolvency, crime, probate, syariah, and civil litigation.

Kulvinder Kaur

Partner

Kulvinder’s practice focuses on civil and commercial litigation, and matrimonial affairs. She has successfully obtained sole custody and highly favorable access arrangements for her clients (both mothers and fathers).

Cherie Tan

Partner

Cherie’s primary focus is on matrimonial matters where her empathy, sensitivity and patience has won her many cases involving divorce, maintenance and custody. She speaks English, Mandarin and Hokkien.

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