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Singapore Government

National Family Violence Networking System Conference 2018

Tuesday, 27 November 2018, 9am to 5pm
Garnet Ballroom, Max Atria @ Singapore EXPO, 1 Expo Drive Singapore 486150

Since 2001, the Family Violence Dialogue Group (FVDG) has organized the National Family Violence Networking System (NFVNS) Conference to strengthen partnerships and share best practices in policy, practice and research as they relate to family violence.

This year marks the 22nd anniversary of our establishment in family protection work. We seek to venture into innovative ways that bring new perspectives to the sector. The theme for this year’s conference is “Think out of the box: Discovering Possibilities in Family Protection Work”. It serves as a catalyst for critical thinking and creative approaches to better serve the needs of families affected by violence.

This year also sees the official launch of the Sector Specific Screening Guide (SSSG) and Child Abuse Reporting Guide (CARG) as part of the Structured Decision Making approach adopted across the family protection sector.

Who would benefit?


1) Do I need to pay to attend the Conference?
No, attendance at NFVNS Conference 2018 is complimentary, but by invitation only.

2) Can I request for more registration spaces for my staff?
Due to limited space, we have set aside a number of spaces for each agency (as indicated in the invitation). However, we’ll be happy to put the request for more registration spaces on hold till further confirmation of the registration figures.

3) Can I come halfway to attend the plenary and/or workshop sessions?
Participants are strongly encouraged to attend the full event. Due to limited seats, you may wish to transfer your attendance to your colleague to attend the event instead to maximize the learning.


If you have any questions relating to the conference and registration, please contact our appointed conference organizer, Twist Media, at

NFVNS partners across disciplines and sectors, including:

  • Judiciary and Law Enforcement Agencies (Ministry of Home Affairs, Police, State Courts, Family Justice Courts, Attorney-General’s Chambers, Prison)
  • Social Service Agencies (Family Violence/Child Protection Specialist Centres, Family Service Centres, Voluntary Children’s Homes, Disability/Elderly Agencies etc.)
  • Healthcare Agencies (Ministry of Health, Hospitals etc.)
  • Education Institutions (Ministry of Education, Special Education Schools, etc.)


Participation at the conference is by invitation and is complimentary. The closing date for registration is on 15 November 2018, Thursday.

Registration is on a first come, first served basis.


Family Violence

Family violence affects more people than most think. When violence occurs within the family, the impact is felt by everyone and there can be lifelong consequences, sometimes even spanning across generations. Recognising the complexities and multifaceted nature of the problem; and adopting coordinated interventions are key to effective family protection work. It is paramount to keep a victim safe, and to ensure that recurrence of abuse is minimized.

Inter-agency Management of Family Violence Cases

The Family Violence Dialogue Group (FVDG), established in 2001, is jointly led by the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) and the Singapore Police Force. The policy level dialogue group comprises representatives from the State Courts, Family Justice Courts, Singapore Prison Service, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education, National Council of Social Service and social service/specialist agencies. The goals of FVDG are to develop system level strategies to improve work processes amongst agencies, co-ordinate public education efforts and develop new areas of collaboration in family protection work.

At the functional level, the National Family Violence Networking System (NFVNS) was established earlier in 1996 to put in place a tighter network of support. The island-wide networking system links the police, prisons, hospitals, social service agencies, the courts and MSF, and provides multiple access points for victims to obtain help.

In 2003, six Regional Family Violence Working Groups (FVWGs), led by non-government organizations, were also set up to harness community energy to spearhead regional activities, examine trends at the community level, and seek new ways to help families affected by violence. For better interface with the policy level FVDG, the Chairpersons of the Working Groups are appointed as members of the Dialogue Group to provide feedback on gaps in services and participate in discussions for improvements.

FVDG Appreciation Award 2018:

In 2008, the FVDG appreciation Award was introduced to recognise partners from agencies who have made exemplary individual/team contributions in the management of family violence cases. It aims to embrace inter-agency approach which is crucial for effective family violence intervention work.




0900 – 0930
0930 – 0935
Welcome remarks by Assistant Commissioner of Police, Mr Lee Su Peng,
Deputy Director of Operations Department
0935 – 0945
Opening Performance
0945 – 0955
Launch of CARG and SSSG
0955 – 1015
Keynote Address by Mr Desmond Lee, Minister for Social and Family
Development and Second Minister in the Ministry of National Development
1015 – 1040
FVDG Appreciation Awards
1040 – 1110
Morning Tea Break
1110 – 1240


Topic 1: Applying Behavioral Insights to Family Violence

Topic 2: Thinking “Outside the Box” on Family Violence with Systems Thinking

Topic 3: Abuse Against Older Adults: Working Together using a Relational Approach

1240 – 1400
Networking Lunch
1400 – 1500

Concurrent Workshops

Workshop 1
Topic: Better Decisions and Stronger Engagement with Families to Keep Children Safe

Workshop 2
Topic: Rethinking the Dynamics of Abuse against Older Adults: Towards a Relational Lens for Intervention

Workshop 3
Topic: Applying Behavioral Insights to Family Violence

1500 – 1530
Afternoon Tea Break
1530 – 1630
Concurrent Workshops (Repeated)
End of Conference

*This is a Tentative Program and subject to change(s)

Dr Rory Gallagher

Dr Rory GallagherDr Rory Gallagher is the Managing Director of the Behavioural Insights Team (BIT) Australia and Asia-Pacific. He holds a PhD in health and behaviour change from Cambridge University.

The BIT Australia plays a leading role in working with Government and NGOs to apply Behavioural Insights (BI) to public policy and service delivery across Australia. As the Managing Director of the BIT Australia, Dr Gallagher led the establishment of the New South Wales Department of Premier and Cabinet’s Behavioural Insights Unit – the first Australian agency dedicated to applying BI to public policy.

Dr Gallagher spearheaded projects which used BI as an innovative approach in understanding complex social issues such as family violence and to implement effective interventions to change behaviour. The projects were in partnership with the Department of Justice in New South Wales on a number of initiatives to address family violence. Amongst one of them is the project which aimed to improve court attendance for recipients of Apprehended Domestic Violence Orders (ADVOs). The outcomes were beneficial for the family protection agencies in their bid to engage resistant clients on compliance with court orders.

Professor Peter Hovmand

Professor Peter HovmandProfessor Peter Hovmand is the founding director of the Brown School Social System Design Lab and Professor of Practice at the Washington University in St. Louis. He has a background in electrical engineering, mathematics, and philosophy, and received his doctorate in social work and community psychology from Michigan State University. Professor Hovmand is also the cofounder of the System Dynamics Diversity Committee and serves as associate editor for System Dynamics Review.

Professor Hovmand uses System Dynamics (SD) to understand and evaluate community level interventions. His research focuses on developing and using participatory group model building techniques to engage and build systems-thinking capacity in communities and stakeholders. Application areas include mental health, domestic violence, sexual violence and child welfare
amongst others.

Professor Hovmand will share his experiences in working with agencies in different countries on capability traps. A capability trap is a situation where the organization is unable to invest time and resources in process improvement because efforts are focused on fixing mistakes.

Professor Deborah O'Connor

Professor Deborah O'ConnorProfessor Deborah O’Connor is Professor of Social Work at the University of British Columbia. She is also the Founding Director (and now co-director) of the Centre for Research on Personhood and Dementia (CRPD), an interdisciplinary research centre. The Centre focuses on understanding and supporting people with dementia and their family care partners using a lens that recognizes that the dementia experience is both a biomedical and a social condition She is also a founding member of the Citizenship and Dementia: International Research Network which looks into human rights issues in relationship to the experience of dementia from an international perspective.

Professor O’Connor holds a doctorate (PHD) from Wilfrid Laurier University in Canada. She has over 30 years of direct professional social work practice working in the field of aging and health care. Her focus has been on developing the links between theory, practice and research. She has also been involved with policy and practice development at the provincial level in the area of adult guardianship. Her professional and research practice has predominantly focused on issues related to social work practice in the field of aging, especially in the area of dementia, abuse and family care.

Professor O’Connor is well-recognised for her work related to dementia, personhood and citizenship. She will share on innovative models of practice related to abuse against older adults as the family protection sector rethink on the approaches to better address the needs of older and vulnerable adults who are the victims of violence. This knowledge is critical to vulnerable adults protection work which is a new arena in the sector. It helps to challenge professionals’ mindsets and introduce a new lens in working with vulnerable adults.

MSF Child Protective Services (CPS)

The team of presenters from MSF Child Protective Service (CPS) was part of the innovation to develop the Structured-Decision Making (SDM) tools for the Service since 2013 and subsequently its implementation and integration with the Partnering for Safety (PFS) framework.

Mr Joseph Goh, Ms Goh Jen Boon and Ms Skylar Ong, who have background in social work and psychology, are from the Strategic Planning and Management team within the MSF CPS. They led in the partnership with the Children’s Research Centre (CRC) from the United States to develop the SDM tools applicable for Singapore’s context and integrated these tools with the PFS framework.

Ms Cheang Kai Wen and Ms Sakshi Dovedy, with background in social work, are Child Protection Officers from MSF CPS. As officers protecting the most vulnerable children, Kai Wen and Sakshi were amongst the first to put the integrated approach to test in their work and found this approach to be reliable in supporting decision-making for children in need of care and protection.


Plenary Sessions

Plenary Topic 1:

Applying Behavioural Insights (BI) to Family Violence
by Dr Rory Gallagher

Family violence imposes huge personal and societal costs across Australia. The Behavioural Insights Team has partnered with the New South Wales (NSW) government to use behavioural science to reduce family violence reoffending over the past four years. Dr Rory Gallagher will draw on a series of case studies and the EAST behaviour change framework to demonstrate how a more nuanced understanding of human behaviour, plus a more innovative and empirical approach to reducing family violence, can create demonstrable results.


Applying Behavioural Insights to Family Violence.pdf

Plenary Topic 2:

Thinking “Outside the Box” on Family Violence with Systems Thinking
by Professor Peter Hovmand

How can we more effectively address the complexities of family violence? Whether focused on primary prevention or responding to incidents of family violence, we need to be able to find ways to conceptualize and better organize interventions that recognized the underlying systems. This session by Professor Peter Hovmand provides an overview of family violence as a complex system, and how we might leverage tools from systems thinking to develop and evaluate better multilevel/multisectoral approaches to prevention and response.


Thinking "Outside the Box" on Family Violence with Systems Thinking.pdf

Plenary Topic 3:

Abuse Against Older Adults: Working Together using a Relational Approach
by Professor Deborah O’Connor

Abuse against older adults has been recognized and documented internationally as a substantial social issue. Attempts to respond to this issue however, have been poorly developed, researched and theorized. Often, the fall-back is onto the language of ‘caregiver’ abuse; this fails to capture the complexity of the dynamics, and hence, provides limited direction for effective intervention. As part of a recent evaluation study of a pilot intervention that partnered legal and social/health professional responses, results highlight the need for a relational approach to understand the issues and respond in a way that the victim will accept support. The session by Professor Deborah O’Connor shares on the innovative partnership between the social/health and police/legal system for addressing situations of abuse against older adults from a relational lens.


Abuse Against Older Adults: Applying a Relational Lens for Understanding and Responding.pdf


Workshop 1:

Better Decisions and Stronger Engagement with Families to Keep Children Safe - An Integration of Evidence-Based Structured Decision Making Tools and Partnering For Safety Framework in Child Protection
by MSF Child Protective Service (CPS)

"How do we make decisions in Child Protection work?" or "How do we ensure safe practice in the community to keep vulnerable children safe?" These are some common questions that we at Child Protective Service (CPS) strive to answer to keep vulnerable children safe. At CPS, we are entrusted with decisions around child safety and well-being on a daily basis. In recent years, CPS embarked on a journey to re-invent its service delivery with the introduction of research and evidence-based decision support tools known as the Structured Decision Making Tools and a practice framework adopted from Partnering For Safety (PFS). Come and hear our exciting journey in discovering this innovative approach in doing things differently to protect one of the most vulnerable groups of our population – children.“How do we make decisions in child protection work?” “How do we ensure safe practice in the community to keep vulnerable children safe?” These are some common questions that the MSF Child Protective Service (CPS) and community strive to answer to keep vulnerable children safe. Both CPS and our partners are entrusted with decisions around child safety and well-being on a daily basis. In the recent years, CPS embarked on a journey to re-invent the Service with the introduction of research and evidence-based decision support tools known as the Structured Decision Making Tools and its integration with a practice framework adapted from Partnering For Safety (PFS). Come and find out about this innovative approach to protecting one of the most vulnerable groups of our population – children.


Better Decisions and Stronger Engagement with Families to Keep Children Safe.pdf

Workshop 2:

Applying BI to Family Violence
by Rory Gallagher

In this workshop, participants will have the opportunity to understand how to apply the EAST behaviour change framework to reducing family violence. Dr Rory Gallagher will delve into the details of a series of case studies, from low-cost changes to communications, through to innovative court-based behaviour change programs, and help participants to consider how they can apply these techniques to their own work.


Applying Behavioural Insights to Family Violence .pdf

Workshop 3:

Rethinking the Dynamics of Abuse against Older Adults: Towards a Relational Lens for Intervention
by Professor Deborah O’Connor

Despite a growing body of literature aimed at improving understanding of the dynamics of abuse against older adults, concern remains that this issue remains poorly developed from a theoretical perspective. This is important because knowingly or not, we implicitly draw upon our way of conceptualizing an issue to direct our intervention. In this presentation, Professor Deborah O’Connor will identify three lenses that have dominated our understanding of abuse against older adults, highlighting how these lenses have informed practice in ways that may be problematic with unintended consequences. Professor O’Connor will outline how a relational lens may be useful for extending understanding of what the issues actually are and provide a framework for effective interventions.


Rethinking the Dynamics of Abuse against Older Adults:Towards a Relational Lens for Intervention.pdf


NFVNS Innovative Project Submissions – Synopsis

1. HEART@Fei Yue Child Protection Specialist Centre (CPSC)

Title of project: 
Mobile Therapy Toolkit

HEART@Fei Yue Child Protection Specialist Centre is a community-based agency that provides home-based interventions for families where children and young persons (CYP) had experienced abuse and neglect from their parents/carers.  

To address parents/carers not taking up services and obstacles such as lack of time and financial resources or inconvenience, mobile therapy toolkits were created to enable workers to bring therapeutic services to clients.

To overcome the challenge of limited therapy rooms in the office, therapy trolleys affectionately named Brave Little One and Brave Little Two were set up. Workers push them into available counselling rooms to conduct therapeutic work.

The mobile therapy toolkits include resources for Therapeutic play, Play therapy, Sandtray (World technique), Theraplay and Play of Life which are adapted for use outside therapy rooms.  These materials are stored in roller-luggages and duffel bags to enable workers to ‘grab and go’ to see clients in schools, homes, Family Service Centres (FSCs), and Voluntary Children’s Homes (VCHs).

By providing more accessible therapeutic services, a larger pool of clients has benefitted and enjoy better outcomes from the intervention work.


Title of project: 
Three Houses in 3D

Partnering for Safety (PFS), a family-centred, strength-based and solution-focused approach for working with vulnerable and at-risk families, was implemented in Singapore's child protection landscape to support caseworkers in collaborating with families. 
HEART@Fei Yue Child Protection Specialist Centre (CPSC) has transformed PFS resources into experiential, interactive and age-appropriate tools which enabled children to talk about difficult topics in a light-hearted and less threatening manner through play. The Three Houses Tool is reconstructed into 3D format that combines both sensory and externalizing strategies. This allows the child to remain grounded as he/she creates and narrates his/her experiences of what is happening at home.

3. Institute of Mental Health (IMH) & State Courts

Title of project: 
A multi-agency alert system for family violence cases remanded for psychiatric evaluation

Prior to 2015, the Institute of Mental Health (IMH) used to tracked the court outcomes of perpetrators of family violence remanded for psychiatric evaluation by submitting a list of perpetrators to court officials and waiting 2 to 3 days for the information to be consolidated and relayed back to IMH. This information gap created anxiety in the victims who did know the location of the perpetrator. To improve the process, a multi-agency alert system was created in which IMH alerts the State Courts Centre for Specialist Services, which monitors the perpetrators court appointments and updates the multi-agencies on the court outcome via email on the same day. This has allowed agencies additional time for appropriate intervention and safety planning as well as the anxiety victims have over the time lapse for information on the perpetrator. 

4. Family Justice Courts (FJC)

Title of project: 
Creation of the Family Protection Centre (FPC) at the Family Justice Courts

Incidences of family violence often involve people with vulnerabilities As such, there was a need to create a space that considers the circumstances of such victims when incidences of family violence is brought to the attention of the Court through the legal process. Not only was there no dedicated space, the previous process was also time consuming and offered inadequate privacy to these victims. In order to address these issues, through Design Thinking, the application process and work-flows were reviewed, giving rise to the Family Protection Centre (FPC) at FJC @ Havelock in July 2017. The FPC is a one-stop purpose-built area for processing of Personal Protection Order (PPO) applications which allows applicants to seamlessly advance along the intake process more effectively and in a more private setting. Together with an improved electronic filing system, IFAMS, the FPC offers applicants an intuitive experience that is both conducive and comforting and ultimately considerate to the sensitivities of the individuals using these services.

5. Ang Mo Kio Family Service Centre (FSC)

Title of project: 
Engaging couples presented with spousal violence concerns

A practice research study was conducted in early 2018 to better understand the profile of increased intimate partner violence (IPV) referrals. The study has helped to gain increased awareness and intentionality in practice, as the findings have shown the existing good practice, and some missing considerations when approaching intake cases presented with IPV concern. The study’s recommendations include differentiation of types of IPV, being more mindful of the various contextual considerations which are the stage of the relationship in the cycle of violence at the point of contact made by worker, couple’s interactional dynamic, extent of the power and control motives, as well as more intentional posturing of worker towards each party in order to recommend more appropriate intervention needed. With these insights, the way Family Service Centre (FSC) intake workers approach clients at the engagement stage have improved.

6.  Methodist Welfare Services (MWS) FSC Yishun

Title of project: 
Recipes for life: A collective narrative methodology for responding to gender violence

Using the theoretical framework of Narrative Therapy, the Recipes for Life group was conceptualised to empower women who had experienced gender violence in their intimate relationships. By centering people as the experts in their own lives, the women developed ‘recipes for life’ by using the skills and knowledge they had developed when facing gender violence. Narrative practices of outsider-witness, collective documentation, externalising the problem, and deconstructing social discourses that support gender violence were incorporated through the creative use of food metaphors. The women’s alternative stories of resilience and resistance to gender violence were enriched and enabled them to break the silence and reduce the isolation, shame and disempowerment that is often associated with gender violence.

7. Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF), Child Protective Service / Rehabilitation and Protection Group

Title of project: 
Safe and Strong Family (SSF) Pilot Preservation and Reunification Programme

As part of efforts to strengthen family-based care and community support for vulnerable children, the Safe and Strong Families (SSF) pilot was launched to serve children and young persons, who have experienced abuse and neglect, and are known to Child Protective Service. Grounded in the belief that families are the most ideal environment for children and young persons to grow up in, the SSF pilot consists of two types of services: family preservation service and family reunification service. Through intensive home-based intervention, SSF pilot aims to ensure:
a. children and young persons who are at risk of being removed from their families because of safety concerns will be provided with intensive support so that they can remain in their families; and
b. children and young persons who have been placed in foster or residential care to return home to their families. 
To date, more than 360 families have been helped out of the 400 families that the pilot targets to reach.

8. TRANS SAFE centre 

Title of project: 
Community Legal Clinic for Vulnerable Adults

TRANS SAFE Centre has piloted a community legal clinic to provide specialized legal consultation and support for vulnerable adults and families. By adopting a holistic approach that involves the collaboration of professionals consisting mainly of social workers and volunteer lawyers, professional input from the social and legal perspective are integrated to provide a comprehensive response to the safety and welfare concerns surfaced. Service users have provided positive feedback about the session, including feeling empowered, and increased knowledge of legal rights. In the sessions, they are also guided on how to navigate different systems and relevant community resources. The knowledge supports the client and/or their family members in making more informed decisions.


9. National University Hospital​

Title of project: 
Systematic developmental assessment and follow up of preschool children admitted for child maltreatment syndrome in a tertiary hospital in Singapore. 

The rates of child maltreatment in Singapore have increased three fold in recent years. The rise in numbers can be attributed to increasing awareness about child abuse, and to social service professionals being able to better assess and intervene in abuse cases early. Exposure to Adverse Childhood Events (ACEs) like Child Maltreatment Syndrome (CMS) has a graded dose-response relationship with numerous health, social and behavioral problems throughout a child’s lifespan. Despite its established ill effects, there was no developmental surveillance program for these children, missing an opportunity to remediate the detrimental effect of ACEs.

This innovative project proposes a systemic developmental assessment program for children with CMS for prompt identification of existing and emerging delays in children with CMS. This allows for early intervention of CMS delays, improving development outcomes in these children and helping them overcome the transgenerational effects of CMS.


Secretariat of NFVNS 2018
Twist Media Pte Ltd
Name: Hui Shan
Tel: +65 6996 6714

Hotline Operating Hours:
Monday to Friday, 9.30am to 6pm

Directional Map

Public Transportation

By Bus
There are several bus services available to reach Singapore EXPO. Services numbers 12, 24 and 38 stop at EXPO Halls 1/2/3 (Bus stop no. 96029) and EXPO Halls 4/5/6 (Bus stop no. 96039), while service numbers 35,47 and 118 stop behind Singapore EXPO (Bus stop no. 96229). The following are the bus stop numbers around Singapore EXPO:

96229 – Singapore Expo
96029 – Expo Halls 1/2/3
96039 – Expo Halls 4/5/6

By Car
Situated at the crossroads of 3 main expressways – East Coast Parkway, Pan Island Expressway and Tampines Expressway, MAX Atria is a mere 15-minute drive from the CBD and a 5-minute ride to Changi International Airport.

By Taxi
There are numerous taxis available in Singapore that offer reliable service. The taxi fare from the airport to MAX Atria is about S$15 and to the city about S$20, subject to surcharges.

By Train
MAX Atria has a dedicated MRT station next to Hall 6, which is also an interchange station, part of the Changi Airport branch line of the East-West Line and the Downtown Line in the Tampines planning area. Trains arrive every 5 minutes from Changi International Airport and Tanah Merah MRT station. A direct, more convenient way to arrive at Singapore EXPO is through the Downtown Line. It now takes only 30 minutes from CBD areas such as Clarke Quay, Marina Bay and River Valley.