Family violence is not just a private matter. Everyone has a duty to stop it.
If you know of a relative, friend, colleague, or neighbour who is being abused, express your concern and encourage him to speak to a social worker. Offer to accompany him to meet the social worker if he feels uncomfortable.
Everyone has a right to be safe from family violence.
What is Family Violence?
Family violence is violent, threatening or controlling behaviour that happens within the family.
Family violence could be:
- physical injury
- direct or indirect threats
- sexual assault
- emotional and psychological torment
- economic control
- damage to property
- social isolation
- any behaviour which causes a person to live in fear
Family violence covers a broad range of controlling behaviour—often of a physical, sexual, and/or psychological nature—typically involving fear, harm, intimidation and emotional deprivation.
This may include verbal abuse, threats, harassment, intimidation and controlling behaviour like limiting access to friends, relatives and finances. Family violence can happen at any level of close interpersonal relationships—spouses, partners, parents, children, and siblings.
Common forms of violence in families
- Child Abuse (Abuse or neglect of children by an adult)
- Spouse Abuse (Violence among spouses and ex-spouses)
- Elder Abuse (Violence by a child against their parent)
- Vulnerable Adult Abuse (Violence towards a person 18 years of age or older; and is, by reason of mental or physical infirmity, disability or incapacity, incapable of protecting himself or herself from abuse, neglect or self-neglect)
- Dating Violence (Abuse by an intimate partner)
What to do if you experience or witness family violence
Go to the Police for help
You can call the police at 999, or go to your nearest neighbourhood Police Post or Centre for help.
The police can provide you with a referral letter to go to the hospital for medical examination and treatment. Call 999 if you are in immediate danger.
You need to make a police report if you wish to apply for a Protection or Expedited Order. The Order can protect you from further abuse.
You can call any of the hotlines or go to the nearest Family Service Centre for help, or if you need someone to talk to. The social workers will advise you on how to protect yourself and your family members. They can also help the abuser to stop his behaviour.
Seek medical treatment or examination if you are injured
You should seek medical treatment at your nearest hospital or clinic. Even if you do not wish to take action against the abuser, it is advisable that you visit the doctor to have your injuries treated as well as documented as evidence of the abuse.
Go to a temporary shelter if you fear for own safety or the safety of your family members
If you have to leave your home immediately due to family violence and have no place to go, there are crisis shelters where you can stay temporarily. You may approach a Family Service Centre or the Police if you wish to go to a crisis shelter. You can also seek shelter with relatives or friends you trust.
Go to the Family Justice Courts for a Protection Order or Expedited order
At the Family Justice Courts, you can apply for:
- A Protection Order to stop the family violence;
- An Expedited Order if there is imminent danger of family violence being committed against you or your family member; and/or
- A Domestic Exclusion Order to prevent the perpetrator from entering your home or entering parts of your home.
You can apply for a Protection Order or Expedited Order from the Family Justice Courts on your own if you are 21 years old and above. If you are below 21 years old, your relative, guardian or any person responsible for your care or a social worker can apply for a Protection Order on your behalf.
You can apply for a Protection Order at:
The Family Justice Courts
Address: 3 Havelock Square Singapore 059725
Tel: 6435 5077
Adress: Blk 211 Ang Mo Kio Ave 3 #01-1446 Singapore 560211
Tel: 6555 0390
TRANS SAFE Centre
Address: Blk 410 Bedok North Ave 2 #01-58 Singapore 460410
Tel: 6449 9088
Care Corner Project StART
Address:Blk 7A Commonwealth Ave #01-672 Singapore 141007
Tel: 6476 1481
SOS (24 hours daily)
MSF Child Protective Service
Tinkle Friend Helpline (for Child Abuse)
Care Corner Project StART
TRANS SAFE Centre
Visit www.stopfamilyviolence.sg for more information on family violence, the available help avenues and the National Family Violence Networking System (NFVNS).
In case of immediate threat, call the Police at 999. You may also contact your nearest Family Service Centre.
Child abuse is defined as any act by a parent or guardian which endangers or impairs the child’s physical or emotional well-being, or is deemed inappropriate by community values and professionals.
You can do something about it. Here are some tips on how you can discuss the issue with someone who has been abused.
Understand the facts about family violence so that you can do something about it.
MSF provides funding for public education programmes that aim to empower families facing multiple stresses.