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Family Protection & Welfare Services

Topic(s): Children & Families, Protection from Domestic Violence

Services include Mandatory Counselling, Positive Parenting Programme (Triple P) and Special Marriage License.

Domestic Violence

Family or domestic violence can occur in different forms. The Women’s Charter (Amendment) Bill 1996 defines family violence as the commission of any of the following acts:

  • Wilfully or knowingly placing or attempting to place a family member* in fear or hurt

  • Causing hurt to a family member* by such act which is known or ought to have been known would result in hurt

  • Wrongly confining or restraining a family member* against his / her will and

  • Causing continual harassment with intent to cause or knowing that it is likely to cause anguish to a family member*.

*A family member refers to a spouse or former spouse, child (including adopted and step-child), parents, father or mother-in-law and sibling.

Examples of violence in the family include acts of punching, slapping, kicking, choking, hitting with objects, issue of threats, intimidation and verbal abuse.

For more information, please refer to the Break the Silence website.

Mandatory Counselling Programme

The Mandatory Counselling Programme aims to stop physical, emotional or verbal abuse in the family by helping the perpetrator find other ways of dealing with stress, anger or conflict without resorting to hurt or violence. It provides help and support victims of violence who need safety and protection from further hurt.

MSF is the intake agency for all cases ordered by the Court to attend mandatory counselling. A Counselling Order (Section 65 of the Women’s Charter) is usually made when the Family Court issues a Personal Protection Order.

It is an order for those involved in family violence to attend a compulsory counselling programme. MSF works closely with social service agencies in providing counselling services to these cases.

What is done in Mandatory Counselling?

Mandatory counselling can be in the form of individual or group counselling. The following issues may be covered during the counselling sessions:

  • What is family violence?

  • Understand how one’s background and family history relate to the violent behaviour

  • Basic Anger Management

  • Stress Management and Problem Solving

  • Communication and Assertiveness Training

  • Safety Plans for the Victims

  • Marital / Family Issues

  • Impact of Family Violence on Children

Who can be ordered to attend counselling?

The person against whom a Personal Protection Order is issued and his / her family members can be ordered to attend compulsory counselling sessions. A family member according to the Women’s Charter could be:

  1. a spouse or an ex-spouse

  2. a child of the person, including an adopted child or a step-child

  3. a parent of the person

  4. a parent-in-law of the person

  5. a sibling of the person or

  6. any other relative of the person or an incapacitated person whom the Court regard as a member of the family of the person.

What are the steps involved in Mandatory Counselling?

Step I:  Mandatory Counselling Order

The Family Court issues a Mandatory Counselling Order together with a Personal Protection Order. The person who has received a counselling order will be informed of the following

  • the objectives of counselling

  • the procedure in the Mandatory Counselling Programme and

  • the consequences for not attending counselling.

The mandated person would attendcounselling witha counselling agency as directed by MSF.

The Counselling Order may include a review date requiring the mandated person to return to Court at a later date to account for his / her progress in the counselling process.

Step II:  Counselling with Agency

The counsellor will discuss with the mandated person the counselling objectives and plans, the agency’s expectations at these sessions, and the number of counselling sessions to attend.

The counselling agency will conduct the counselling sessions as required.

What if you fail to attend Mandatory Counselling?

A Counselling Order is ordered by the Family Court.

Failure to attend the counselling sessions scheduled by the counselling agency will constitute a breach of the Counselling Order and will be deemed as contempt of Court punishable by law.

For more information, please refer to What is Mandatory Counselling?

Positive Parenting Programme (Triple P)

The Positive Parenting Programme or Triple P Programme is designed to help parents promote children’s development and manage children’s behaviour in a constructive and non-hurtful way. It is based on good communication and positive attention to help children develop.

This programme has been conducted for parents of children who are beyond parental control, child abuse cases, family violence cases, as well as young mothers put on probation.

Special Marriage License

MSF processes Special Marriage Licence applications for the marriage of persons under the age of 18 years. To ensure that young couples have given thorough thought to the notion of marriage, applicants are interviewed and assessed for their suitability for marriage.

We also help couples realise the long-term responsibilities and consequences of marriage and avert break-ups in the future as far as possible.