An amended Women’s Charter against family violence  


In a Singapore Made-For-Families, family violence goes against our fundamental values.  

Accordingly, our MPs passed laws today (Jul 4) which better protect survivors of family violence and which strengthen the Government’s ability to intervene in family violence cases. 

The laws, which are in the Women’s Charter (Family Violence and Other Matters) (Amendment) Bill, also enhance the accountability and rehabilitation of perpetrators: A harmonious family unit is important to us. 

“We aim to address the risks and needs of both survivors and perpetrators, and support them towards family reconciliation, where possible,” said Minister of State of Home Affairs Sun Xueling, who read the Bill. 

“The Bill builds on past efforts by the Government and the social service sector to tackle family violence.” 

Seah Kian Peng and Louis Ng on support and public identification

Source: MCI 

MPs Seah Kian Peng (Marine Parade GRC) and Louis Ng (Nee Soon GRC) spoke on ensuring sufficient resources and support for people, such as the Protectors assisting the Director-General so that work is carried out properly. 

“This is physically and emotionally demanding work,” acknowledged MOS Sun.   

“We will ensure that our Protectors continue to be provided with the necessary resources, such as sufficient manpower, training, and access to up-to-date research, to exercise the new powers in this Bill and tackle family violence effectively.” 

MP Seah, who also chairs the Government Parliamentary Committee of Social and Family Development additionally asked if the Government could consider identifying family violence offenders. This would deter re-offending and protect others from harm. 

In response, MOS Sun explained that these Amendments to the Women’s Charter prohibit publicly identifying a perpetrator — to better protect the identity of the survivors. 

“The intent is to encourage the survivors to report family violence incidents without the fear of being publicly embarrassed. And to spare survivors who do report such incidents from further trauma,” she explained. 

However, MOS Sun pointed out that if the survivor consents to releasing self-identifying information, the Director-General of Social Welfare will consider using it. 

Hany Soh and Zhulkarnain Abdul Rahim on safeguards 

Source: MCI 

MP Hany Soh (Marsiling-Yew Tee GRC) asked about enhancing protection for people unable to apply for Personal Protection Orders by themselves, and just how exactly certain court orders like Stay Away Orders, Domestic Exclusion and No Contact against the accused perpetrators might work.   

“Where a husband and wife with limited income are staying under the same roof, imposing such orders may seem either impractical or inconvenient to one party; for example, it forces the perpetrator to move out of the matrimonial home with no alternate accommodations,” she noted. 

“Social service professionals at our Protection Specialist Centres and Family Service Centres will continue to work closely with families, survivors, and perpetrators to provide any needed assistance, such as shelter and financial support,” answered MOS Sun. 

“Are there any safeguards against the abuse of the Protector’s powers?” asked MP Zhulkarnain Abdul Rahim (Chua Chu Kang).  

“Can an individual subject to an emergency order apply to court to cancel the emergency order?” he added, noting that there did not seem to be much room for review or appeal regarding these orders. 

“Emergency Orders issued by Protectors are intended to cover an existing gap. These Orders will be time-limited, to give the survivors time to apply for a PPO from the Court,” responded MOS Sun.  

“There is also a limit to the number of times an Emergency Order can be made. Given that Emergency Orders are temporary measures intended to protect survivors facing imminent harm, no appeals will be allowed.” 

Concluding her speech, MOS Sun stressed that addressing family violence at its roots requires a whole-of-society approach.  

In other words, we will continue our public efforts to increase awareness and strengthen societal attitudes against violence, make it easier for survivors and the community to report violence and get help, protect survivors and keep rehabilitating perpetrators. 

Our MPs supporting and fine-tuning the Women’s Charter this afternoon will go towards building this more harmonious future.  

“The Amendments will go a long way in breaking the cycle of violence to enable individuals and families experiencing family violence to heal, and ultimately, to help build stronger and more stable families in Singapore,” said MOS Sun.