The Process of Applying for a Personal Protection Order
AspectLaw | April 1, 2022
Violence is a huge social problem. When violence happens within a family, it becomes destructive and traumatic, making victims feel as though they have no way to escape. If you or a family member is suffering abuse from a family member, you can apply to the Singapore courts for a personal protection order.
A personal protection order is a court order that protects an individual from violence caused by a family member. The court can make a variety of protection orders to prevent a perpetrator from causing more harm to the victim. A breach of a personal protection order is punishable by a fine of up to $5,000 or by imprisonment of up to 12 months, or both. Here’s how to apply for a personal protection order.
Any persons of 21 years of age and above can apply for a personal protection order to protect yourself, your children or an incapcitated adult family member. If you are under 21 and not married, a family member who is 21 years of age and above may file an application on your behalf.
When applying for a personal protection order, applicants will need to provide a series of documents. If you are filing the application, you are the applicant. The abuser is the respondent.
- The latest and past incidents of family violence, including the date and time, place, brief details of the incident, type of violence and the injuries sustained.
- The nature of your relationship with the respondent.
- The details of family members involved in the incidents.
- The orders that you are applying for. For example, you will have to state if you are applying for a personal protection order only, or a personal protection order with a domestic exclusion order.
- Police reports or medical reports to support your application (if applicable).
How to Apply?
Applicants can file an application for a personal protection order online via the Integrated Family Application Management System (iFAMS). Afterwhich, applicants will have to visit either the Family Protection Centre (FPC) at the Family Justice Courts or any Family Violence Specialist Centre (FVSC) to complete the application and have your documents verified. Alternatively, you may file an application at either the Family Justice Courts or the FVSC in person.
Applicants are highly encouraged to submit their application and documents via the online platform first before heading to the FPC or an FVSC as this can help quicken processing.
When you arrive at the FPC to complete your application, a court family specialist (CFS) will attend to you. A social worker will guide you through the session if you are filing your application at an FVSC. During which, they will provide you with necessary information on the personal protection order application, assess the needs of you and your family, as well as provide information with regards to ensuring your safety.
Following the session, you will be summoned to appear before a duty judge to confirm the accuracy of the information in your application. This can be done in person or through video conferencing. You will then be required to swear or affirm that the information in your application and your answers to the judge are true and correct. The duty judge will then decide whether to accept or dismiss your application.
If Application is Accepted
If the judge accepts your application, the court will summon the respondent. It is a court document ordering the respondent to appear at a court mention at the scheduled date and time. A nominal fee of $1 will have to be paid for the summons to be issued. You will also be required to attend the court mention. However, if you fear facing the respondent in court, you can request to attend it via video conference.
During the court mention, the respondent will be informed of your complaint. If the respondent agrees with the complaint, the judge may issue a personal protection order. The order may also come with a counselling order, where both parties will have to attend counselling. Counselling sessions can also be held separately. However, if the respondent does not agree with the complaint, a CFS will be appointed to speak with both parties to try and resolve the matters.
If matters are resolved, the judge may issue a personal protection order. If the matter is not resolved after counselling, the judge will proceed with a court hearing. The court will review all evidence and hear witnesses during the hearing before deciding whether to issue the personal protection order.
A personal protection order can be granted within 1 to 2 months of the application if the respondent agrees with the complaint. However, if the matter proceeds to a court hearing, it might take 3 to 5 months to be granted the personal protection order.
If the court dismisses your application, you may appeal to a judge of the Family Division of the High Court within 14 days of receiving the court’s order.
Although a lawyer is not required to file an application for a personal protection order, having one can be beneficial. Your lawyer will ensure that your documents and applications are properly filed, represent you in court, and can even help increase your chances of a successful application in obtaining a personal protection order. As legal procedures are complex in nature, having a lawyer represent you (particularly should your matter be a contested one) would be greatly beneficial.
If you need legal assistance, Aspect Law Chambers specialises in Family and Criminal law, providing legal help at cost-effective rates. Contact us today to speak to a lawyer.
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