The Women’s Charter says family violence involves
a) causing hurt wilfully or knowingly
b) wilfully placing or attempting to place one in fear or hurt
c) wrongfully confining or restraining against one’s will
d) continuously harassing one with intention to cause or knowing that it will cause anguish
Life is never peachy keen. It’s normal for relationships to involve a certain amount of stress, disagreements, and conflicts – but when violence enters the equation, a line is crossed and the relationship is poisoned.
Pushing, punching, and kicking are obvious signs of abuse, but violence can also be emotional or psychological, and equally devastating.
These also count as violence:
Not an average problem?
In 2006 alone, the Family Court received 2667 applications from individuals seeking protection from family violence. This may not seem a huge number, but it’s really the tip of the iceberg, as it does not include cases where medical attention was sought for injuries, help was sought at voluntary organisations, or police reports were made, instead of being cited to the Family Court.
In reality, family violence affects everyone equally, cutting across race, religion and educational level. At Centre for Promoting Alternatives to Violence (PAVe), 50 % of the cases involve secondary education and 21 % have diploma and university degrees.
Don’t keep it to yourself
The long-suffering spouse might be a tragic and heroic figure, but that’s no reason to put up with this. It’s not just the injuries from physical violence, but the effects of family violence fester into the long term, with victims reporting headaches and migraines. Emotionally and psychologically, they are more prone to depression, insomnia, and feelings of insecurity helplessness, and general anxiety.
More insidious is the effect of the violence on the children. Often silent witnesses to acts of family violence, children often become socially withdrawn, or externalise it as aggressive behaviour in school, like picking fights.
Help is just a call away
Family violence tends to get worse over time, so it’s best to seek help early from the professionals. It takes courage for victims to take that first step, but all counselling is confidential, and it presents an avenue for victims to clarify and ask questions about their experiences.
Avenues of help
Centre for Promoting Alternatives to Violence (PAVe)
Tel : 65550390
Tel : 64499088
Family Service Centre Helpline
Tel : 1800 8380100
 Ministry of Community, Youth and Sports. 2007. Protecting Families from Violence.