According to a Straits Times article published in May 2020, there was an increase in domestic violence cases in Singapore, with about 476 police reports filed between April 7 to May 6. This was a 22% increase from the monthly average prior to the circuit breaker period, according to the Police.
These cases include assault, causing hurt, using criminal force, as well as criminal intimidation and wrongful confinement.
What are Considered Family and Spousal Violence?
According to the Ministry of Social & Family Development (MSF), family violence is defined as a violent, threatening or controlling behaviour towards your spouse or family members. These can include:
- Action that causes physical injury
- Direct or indirect threats of causing harm
- Sexual assault of any kind
- Emotional or psychological manipulation or gaslighting
- Damaging of property
- Socially isolating the person
- Behaving in a way that causes a person to live in fear
Even without physical violence involved, family and spousal violence also include verbal abuse, threats, harassments, intimidating and controlling behaviour like setting excessive curfews or limiting access to friends or other family members.
Some of the more common forms of family violence include:
- Child Abuse – abuse or neglect of child by an adult;
- Spousal Abuse – violence between spouses, including ex-spouses
- Elder Abuse – a child abusing the parent;
- Vulnerable Adult Abuse – abuse of an adult who may be mentally or physically disabled;
- Dating Violence – abuse involving an intimate partner.
What Can I Do When I Witness an Abuse?
While there is no circuit breaker to immediately halt any violence, the most important thing you need to do when faced in a situation either for yourself, or as a bystander witnessing someone else getting abused, is to first call the Police at 999, or visit the nearest Neighbourhood Police Station for help. Below are some useful numbers you may call:
• National Care Hotline: 1800-202-6868
• Big Love Child Protection Specialist Centre: 6445-0400
• Heart @ Fei Yue Child Protection Specialist Centre: 6819-9170
• Pave Integrated Services for Individual and Family Protection: 6555-0390
• Project StART: 6476-1482
• Trans Safe Centre: 6449-9088
• Community Psychology Hub’s Online Counselling platform: CPHOnlineCounselling.sg
• Touchline (Counselling): 1800-377-2252
• Care Corner Counselling Centre: 1800-353-5800
• Agency for Integrated Care Hotline: 1800-650-6060
Engaging a Family Lawyer
If you are currently in a situation that requires mediation or legal advice, it’s best to consult a lawyer who will be able to guide you through your options.
Mr Amarjit Singh Sidhu of Amarjit Sidhu Law Corporation has represented numerous clients in a wide variety of matters over the years from traffic offences, high-profile criminal cases – to family and divorce matters. With a vast knowledge of Singapore’s laws and a wealth of experience, Mr Amarjit Singh Sidhu will be able to provide valuable and timely advice for your situation. For more information, feel free to contact us for a consultation.