- Men are covered under the family violence provisions in the Women’s Charter, alongside women and children.
What are the common effects of Domestic Violence on victims?
When physical violence occurs, victims of abuse are likely to have visible injuries such as bruises, welts on the face, broken arms or fractures. If the abuse is serious, the injuries inflicted may be life threatening.
Victims of abuse may feel ashamed to talk about the abuse and will give excuses about their injuries or may try to disguise them. The victims may suffer from low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, experience changes in moods, become withdrawn, and some may have suicidal thoughts. Some abused victims are isolated and confused about their situation. They may feel a sense of helplessness and continue to live in fear.
What are the myths and facts of Domestic Violence?
Here are some myths and facts about Domestic Violence:
MYTH: Fighting is part and parcel of family life.
FACT: Differences and conflicts happen amongst family members. However, in a healthy family relationship, members seek ways to overcome their differences. Violence is not a normal part of family life.
MYTH: Domestic violence is a private matter.
FACT: Domestic violence affects everyone, including children. Violence is not a normal part of a marital or familial relationship and is unacceptable.
MYTH: Violence will eventually stop.
FACT:Domestic violence is often not a one-time act. Most victims are caught in a cycle of violence. After a violent episode, the perpetrator may feel sorry and promise to change for the better. However, after some time, the tension will build up and the perpetrator resorts to violence again. The abuse can get more frequent and serious – it may even claim a life.
MYTH: Alcohol or drugs are to be blamed for the violence.
FACT: Alcohol may intensify violent behaviour but it is not the cause of violence. Alcohol or drugs is not an excuse for abusive behaviour.
MYTH: The victim is to be blamed for provoking violence.
FACT: Very often, the violence and anger are triggered by something which the victim has no control over. No one deserves to be abused, regardless of the behaviours of the victim. There are alternative ways of handling a situation without resorting to violence.
MYTH: Domestic violence only occurs among the poor and uneducated.
FACT: Statistics have shown that domestic violence happens to people of all ages, races, religions, occupational, educational and financial backgrounds.
MYTH: If the situation was really that bad, the victim could just leave.
FACT: The victim may have reasons for not leaving – love, fear, embarrassment, low self-esteem, financial constraint or consideration for the children. Staying in a violent relationship does not mean that the victim wants to be abused.
MYTH: Perpetrators are clearly violent in all their relationships.
FACT: A perpetrator may be extremely violent at home but can be reasonable and respectable outside the family. Perpetrators do not look any different from your neighbour, colleague, friend or boss.
What is Dating Violence?Dating violence occurs in a dating relationship when one partner uses a pattern of abusive behaviours to exert control and power over the other.
What is Domestic Violence?Domestic Violence is violent, threatening or controlling behaviour that happens within the family. Domestic violence could be: * physical injury * threats * sexual assault * emotional and psychological torment * damage to property * social isolation * any behaviour which causes a person to live in fear Domestic Violence covers a broad range of controlling behaviour—often of a physical, sexual, and/or psychological/emotional nature—typically involving fear, harm, intimidation and emotional deprivation. This may include verbal abuse, threats, harassment, intimidation and controlling behaviour like limiting access to friends, relatives and finances. Domestic violence can happen at any level of close interpersonal relationships — spouses, partners, parents, children, and siblings.
What is Elder Abuse?
Elder abuse refers to any action or inaction that puts the health safety or well-being of an elderly person at risk. The abuse is often carried out by a family member or caregiver whom the victim trusts.
You can find more information on elder abuse [here].
What is Spousal Abuse?
Spousal abuse occurs when one spouse uses physical or non-physical means to control and instill fear in their partner. This can include physical violence like slapping, shoving and punching, or non-physical acts like verbal insults, threats of violence and neglect.
You can find more information on spousal abuse [here].
What is neglect or self-neglect in relation to a Vulnerable Adult?
“Neglect” in relation to a Aulnerable Adult (VA), means the lack of provision to the individual of essential care (such as but not limited to food, clothing, medical aid, lodging and other necessities of life), to the extent of causing or being reasonably likely to cause personal injury or physical pain to, or injury to the mental or physical health of the VA.
“Self-neglect”, in relation to a VA, means the failure of the VA to perform essential tasks of daily living (such as but not limited to eating, dressing and seeking medical aid) to care for himself or herself, resulting in the individual:
a. living in grossly unsanitary or hazardous conditions;
b. suffering from malnutrition or dehydration; or
c. suffering from an untreated physical or mental illness or injury.
You can find more information on these definitions in Section 2 of the Vulnerable Adults Act (VAA)[here].
What is the Vulnerable Adults Act?
The Vulnerable Adults Act (VAA) safeguards vulnerable adults from abuse, neglect, or self-neglect. The VAA came into force on 19 December 2018.
The VAA strengthens Singapore’s existing laws to protect vulnerable adults from abuse, neglect, or self-neglect, including the Women’s Charter and the Mental Capacity Act.
You can find a copy of the VAA [here].
What is Vulnerable Adult abuse?
Under the Vulnerable Adults Act, “abuse” includes:
1. physical abuse;
2. emotional or psychological abuse;
3. conduct or behaviour by the respondent that in any other way controls or dominates the Vulnerable Adult (VA) and causes the VA to fear for his or her safety or wellbeing; or
4. conduct or behaviour by the respondent that unreasonably deprives, or threatens to unreasonably deprive, the VA of liberty of movement or wellbeing.
“Physical abuse” includes behaviour that causes, or threatens to cause, personal injury or physical pain to an individual; or one that coerces or attempts to coerce an individual to engage in sexual activity; or one that threatens to injure or cause death.
“Emotional or psychological abuse” includes behaviour that torments, intimidates, harasses or is offensive to a VA; or one that causes or may reasonably be expected to cause mental harm to a VA, to the extent of him/her having thoughts of suicide or inflicting self-harm.
You can find more information on these definitions in Section 2 of the Vulnerable Adults Act (VAA) [here]
Who is a Vulnerable Adult?
The Vulnerable Adults Act (VAA) defines a Vulnerable Adult (VA) as any individual who meets all of the following criteria:
a. Is 18 years of age or older; and
b. Has mental or physical infirmity, disability or incapacity; and, because of it,
c. Is unable to protect himself/herself from abuse, neglect or self-neglect.
You can find more information [here].
How can the elderly who are suffering from abuse seek help?
Elderly who experience abuse can speak to family members, neighbours or friends whom they trust. In life-threatening situations, they should call the police immediately or ask someone that they trust to help them do so. These abused elderly victims can also talk to doctors, social workers or other professionals about their experience and problems. It will also help if they maintain an active social life, such as calling their friends to chat often and connecting with people in their community. This will help increase their visibility.
For assistance, they can call the following hotlines:
National Anti-Violence and Sexual Harrassment Helpline (NAVH):1800-777-0000
Police: Call 999 or SMS 71999 (If there is imminent danger to your/the victim's life and safety) You can find more information on elder abuse [here].
How do I get help when I am faced with domestic violence?
If you are experiencing violence or abuse in your relationships, it can be difficult to make the decision to seek help. You may feel scared that the perpetrator would carry out their threats to harm you or your loved ones, and worry about what the future would be like. It is normal to feel this way.
There are trained professionals who care about your safety and will listen to your difficulties and discuss suitable next steps. You can call the 24-hour National Anti-Violence and Sexual Harrassment Helpline (NAVH) at 1800-777-0000 or make an online report via the [NAVH Reporting Form].
If there is imminent danger, call the police at 999 or SMS 71999 or go to your nearest Neighbourhood Police Post or Centre for help.
I am experiencing some Domestic Violence and have no place to go. I am afraid of going home as I don't feel safe there. Where can I go to for help?
If you are experiencing violence or abuse in your relationships, it can be difficult to make the decision to seek help. You may feel scared that the perpetrator would carry out their threats to harm you or your loved ones, and worry about what the future would be like. It is normal to feel this way. There are trained professionals who care about your safety and will listen to your difficulties and discuss suitable next steps. You can call the 24-hour National Anti-Violence & Sexual Harassment Helpline (NAVH) at 1800-777-0000 or make an online report via the [NAVH Reporting Form]. If there is imminent danger, call the police at 999 or SMS 71999 or go to your nearest Neighbourhood Police Post or Centre for help.
You can find more information [here].
What can you do if you know of someone in an abusive relationship?
Your response can save lives. If you know someone in an abusive relationship, you can get help for them. You can call the 24-hour National Anti-Violence and Sexual Harrassment Helpline (NAVH) at 1800-777-0000 or make an online report via the [NAVH Reporting Form].
In life-threatening situations If there is imminent danger, call the police at 999 or SMS 71999 or go to your nearest Neighbourhood Police Post or Centre for help.
Here are also some tips on what you should or should not do.
Approach him/her in an understanding manner and talk to him/her in private.
Express your concern and encourage him/her to talk and share his/her feelings. Be patient and take time to listen.
Offer to accompany him/her to see a doctor if he/she sustained physical injuries.
Inform him/her about sources of help and provide him/her with emotional and practical support.
Help take care of his/her children or accompany him/her to the relevant agencies if needed.
Downplay or dismiss the violence and tell him/her that everything will be fine or that abuse is normal.
Try to solve his/her problem and insist that he/she must do what you say.
Judge or criticise his/her decision even if he/she shows that he/she is not ready to do something about it. Respect the decision and assure him/her of your support if he/she decides to seek help.
Lose your patience. Continue to support and keep in touch with him/her.
You can find more information [here].