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Personal Protection Orders

If you are suffering violence at the hands of a family member, it may feel like a lonely and powerless endeavour - however, do not be afraid as there are safeguards the law has in place to protect you from further harm. Primarily, you may consider obtaining a Personal Protection Order to prevent further violence.

What is family violence?

Under Section 64 of the Women’s Charter (CAP. 353), a person may be guilty of causing family violence if he/she commits any of the following:
  1. wilfully or knowingly placing, or attempting to place, a family member in fear of hurt;
  2. causing hurt to a family member by such act which is known or ought to have been known would result in hurt;
  3. wrongfully confining or restraining a family member against his will; or
  4. causing continual harassment with intent to cause or knowing that it is likely to cause anguish to a family member.
Both physical and psychological acts of abuse may be considered to be family violence. For example, aside from physical acts of violence such as punching and kicking, psychological acts of abuse such as emotional blackmail may also come under Section 64’s purview so long as it leads to hurt, defined as “bodily pain, disease or infirmity” under the Charter.

Who is considered a “family member” under the Women’s Charter?

Section 64 of the Women’s Charter defines a “family member” in relation to a person to mean:
  1.  a spouse or former spouse of the person;
  2. a child of the person, including an adopted child and a step-child;
  3. a father or mother of the person;
  4. a father-in-law or mother-in-law of the person;
  5. a brother or sister of the person; or
  6. any other relative of the person or an incapacitated person who in the opinion of the court should, in the circumstances, in either case be regarded as a member of the family of the person.

What steps do I need to take to obtain a Personal Protection Order (“PPO”)?
A Personal Protection Order (“PPO”), under Section 65 of the Women’s Charter, restrains the alleged perpetrator from using family violence against the family member. If the courts are satisfied on a balance of probabilities that family violence has been committed or is likely to be committed against a family member and a PPO is necessary for the protection of the family member, it will be granted.

To obtain a PPO, the alleged victim must make an application at the Family Justice Courts. There, the alleged victim is required to provide details on the violence. Hence, to quicken the process, an applicant should try to gather sufficiently convincing evidence such as medical reports of injuries sustained during such episodes of violence.

Do I have any other options?

Aside from ordering a PPO, the court may also order an Expedited Order or a Domestic Exclusion Order.
  • Under Section 66 of the Women’s Charter, an Expedited Order (EO) is a temporary order that may be granted after the application of a PPO if the court is satisfied that there is imminent danger of family violence being committed against the applicant.
  • Domestic Exclusion Order (DEO) excludes or restricts the respondent from entering the applicant’s residence or parts of the residence and it will be granted if the court thinks that it is necessary for the safety of the protected person.


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