What is Violence?

  • Violence is the act or threat of violence by one person towards another person.
  • Violence can occur in the context of dating relationships (dating violence) or among family members (family violence). It can also happen between strangers or individuals who are not in any intimate relationship. This is often broadly referred to as interpersonal violence.
  • The frequency and the severity of the abuse usually increase as the relationship continues, especially if no help is sought or nothing is done to stop the violence.

Types of Violence

Definition: The use of force on another person to instil fear in them and to control them.

Examples of physical violence include pushing, pulling, slapping, pinching, punching, strangulation, throwing things at someone or hitting another person with an object (e.g. a book), kicking and stepping on a person.

Definition: The use of vulgar or insulting words, put downs or curses on another person to hurt them and cause them to feel low and unworthy.

Examples of verbal/emotional violence include rejecting or withdrawing affection or love from someone, using words or phrases like 'stupid', 'prostitute', 'idiot', 'you should just die' and so on.

In the context of child abuse, it could also include 'persistent hostility, ignoring, blaming, discriminating or blatant rejection of the child.' (Taken from the National Standards for Protection of Children (2002), by Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports).

Definition: The use of threats to instil fear in another person and to control them.

Examples of psychological violence are the use of knife or weapons, the threat of suicide or the threat to kill or harm another person.

Definition: The forcing of sexual behaviour by one person to another.

Examples of sexual violence includes forcing sex on another person, unwanted ('bad') touching or fondling of private areas of the body, exposure of a child to pornography or forcing someone to perform a lewd or sexual act.

Definition: The deliberate denial of basic needs, mainly in the context of children, the elderly and vulnerable persons like persons who are disabled or incapacitated.

Examples of neglect include failing to provide adequate food, shelter or clothing or denying an individual necessary medical care.


Legal Definitions of Violence

The legal definition of family violence is in section 64 of the Women's Charter. You can find the Women's Charter at the Singapore Statutes Online website.

Under section 64, family violence is

  • Wilfully or knowingly placing, or attempting to place, a family member in fear of hurt;
  • Causing hurt to a family member by such act which is known or ought to have been known would result in hurt;
  • Wrongfully confining or restraining a family member against his will; or
  • Causing continual harassment with intent to cause or knowing that it is likely to cause anguish to a family member

Take note that under the Section 375 of the Penal Code, a man can be convicted of an offence of 'rape' if he has sexual intercourse with his wife without her consent in the following cases:

  • When a Court has ordered that the man is not allowed to have sexual intercourse with his wife;
  • When a wife has wither a Protection Order under Section 65 of the Women's Charter or an Expedited Order under Section 66 of the Women's Charter;
  • When a wife is living apart from her husband and she has begun applying for a Protection Order or Expedited Order.