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Overview on Domestic Violence

Domestic violence refers to patterns of violent, threatening, abusive or controlling behaviours within the family, household, current or former intimate relationships, that cause hurt and/or fear for the safety and well-being of people involved. It can happen to anyone regardless of age, gender, race, sexual orientation or socioeconomic background. Singapore takes a serious view of abuse in any form, and the community and Government will step in to protect victims and address the offending behaviour.

Domestic violence can be:

  • Physical
  • Emotional
  • Psychological
  • Sexual
  • Neglect

Is domestic violence normal?

We have the right to feel safe and respected in our relationships. Violence and abuse in a relationship must not be tolerated. There are ways to deal with conflict and disagreements without resorting to violence.

Impact of Domestic Violence

Violence and abuse can escalate

If conflicts are not resolved amicably, the perpetrator may resort to more severe methods to maintain control or overpower the victim to get what they want.

Violence and abuse can cause trauma and even death

Abuse robs people of their right to make their own decisions and have control over their lives. The trauma experienced by victims can affect their thinking, emotions, physical health, behaviours and social interactions. In more severe cases, abuse may lead to serious injury, attempted suicide, or even death.

Victims may be stuck in a cycle of violence and abuse

Victims may find it difficult to seek help due to different reasons. Some common reasons are:

  • The perpetrator could have threatened to harm the victims if they report
  • Victims may also be financially or emotionally dependent on perpetrators
  • Victims wish to keep the family intact for the sake of the children

Victims may find themselves trapped in their situation because:

  • They live in fear of the people in their own home
  • They find it difficult to share their problems with others as they feel ashamed or blame themselves
  • The perpetrator may monitor and control the victim’s interactions with others, in order to hide the abuse

Violence and abuse can have long-term consequences on children

The home should be a safe environment for children. Children who have experienced or witnessed abuse or violence may live in fear, which may have devastating and long-term consequences on their behaviours. They may experience or show:

  • Anxiety
  • Aggression, tantrums
  • Mental health problems
  • Difficulties sleeping, nightmares
  • Excessive crying
  • Academic/behavioural problems in school
  • Regression of previously acquired skills (e.g. bedwetting, fear of sleeping alone)

A child exposed to abuse and violence in the home may come to view violence as an acceptable way to solve problems, or that it is acceptable to abuse others. They may continue to have these beliefs about relationships as they enter adulthood.

Break The Silence

I want to report domestic violence

I am experiencing abuse

I witnessed abuse

Contact the National Anti-Violence and Sexual Harassment Helpline (NAVH) or the police

Seek help from a Family Service Centre, Protection Specialist Centre, Family Justice Courts, medical professional or temporary shelter

Find out how to support someone who is abused or safely interrupt the abuse


Family Violence Amendments to Women's Charter

The Family Violence (Amendment) Bill, which was passed in Parliament on 4 July 2023, aims to better protect survivors and strengthen rehabilitation of perpetrators of family violence.