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A Personal Protection Order (PPO) is an order warning one’s spouse that he/she is not to commit family violence against his/her spouse and/or children.

When Your Loved Ones Are Those Whom You Seek Protection From

Sometime in September 2023, a 26-year-old gentleman (the “Son”) in distress sought help in applying for a Personal Protection Order (“PPO”) against his father (the “Father”), mother (the “Mother”), and elder sister (the “Sister”) as highlighted in The Straits Times. His parents had a history of legal issues; they had previously been convicted of, inter alia, harassing their neighbours during the Circuit Breaker period. Considering the nature of the case and its profound impact on the Son, Mr Louis agreed to take on his case on a low bono basis.

The Son’s applications were directed against the Father, the Mother and the Daughter, while they each filed their own PPO applications against him. The court’s decision addressed multiple incidents cited by the parties, each presenting overlapping narratives of family violence, including physical altercations, harassment through social media, and confrontations.

The court held that the narrative of an incident where the Father and the Mother alleged the Son threw an object at the Father thereby causing injury to him, lacked evidence. This incident, previously withdrawn in earlier proceedings, was also dismissed under the doctrine of res judicata. In another incident, the Daughter alleged that the Son strangled her and injured the Father when he intervened. However, the court also found insufficient evidence to substantiate these claims.

The Daughter and the Mother soon took to social media to further their tirade; posting regretful remarks about the Son and his lion dance troupe which caused him significant distress. The court subsequently held that although their social media posts were distasteful, it did not constitute ‘harassment’ under Section 64 of the Women’s Charter 1961 (the “WC”).

Subsequent incidents were particularly telling. The Son found himself locked inside the house on the day of his lion dance competition, as someone had changed the padlock, and had to call a locksmith. Later that day, the Father, the Mother, and the Daughter arrived at the competition—not in support of their son but—to disrupt the competition by pouring coffee over the lion as well as kicking the troupe’s equipment. The court held that these incidents amounted to ‘harassment’. Upon returning home, the Son discovered his room ransacked, by the Father, the Mother, or the Daughter and thus, moved out of the family home.

After his move, the Father and the Mother’s began their incessant spam calls and messages to the Son. Unable to reach him, the Father, the Mother, and the Daughter once again sought him out at his lion dance training ground. These events were also recognised as ‘harassment’ by the court, warranting a PPO.

The court’s power to issue a PPO is derived under Section 65 of the WC which requires two key elements to be fulfilled: that family violence has been or is likely to be committed and; that the order is necessary to protect the family member. Under Section 64 of the WC, the definition of ‘family violence’ includes, “causing continual harassment with intent to cause or knowing that it is likely to cause anguish to a family member”.

Having heard our submissions, the court unequivocally granted PPOs to the Son against the Father, the Mother, and the Daughter and dismissed all other applications filed against him. As the Son was wholly successful in all his claims, the court also granted costs and disbursements in his favour.

For more information contact Singapore divorce or family lawyer Raphael Louis (Ray) or visit his other website.