The Vulnerable Adults Act 2018 (VAA) came into operation on 19 December 2018.
This section provides a summary of the procedures for applying for an Order for the protection of vulnerable adults under the VAA at the FJC.
The information provided below is general in nature and is not intended as legal advice. The FJC cannot provide legal advice or assist with drafting the contents of any documents.
References to legislation:
A Vulnerable Adult (VA) is an individual aged 18 years or older who, by reason of his/her mental or physical infirmity, disability or incapacity, is unable to protect himself or herself from abuse, neglect or self-neglect.
If you are a VA, a VA’s family member or a VA’s donee or deputy, you may apply for an Order to protect yourself or the VA against future abuse or neglect by the person against whom an order is sought to be made, known as the Respondent.
The order can be in the form of a restraining order preventing abuse or further abuse, an order granting the right to exclusive occupation of premises or specific part thereof, an order prohibiting the entering or remaining in a specified area frequented by the VA for a specified period or an order prohibiting the communication with or visiting a VA (collective referred to hereinafter as “Protective Orders”).
This section helps you to understand what abuse, neglect or self-neglect is, how a Protective Order(s) helps the VA and the procedures for applying for Protective Order(s) in the FJC.
A VA is a person who meets all of the following elements:
- is 18 years of age or older;
- has mental or physical infirmity, disability or incapacity; and because of it
- is unable to protect himself/herself from abuse, neglect or self-neglect.
- physical abuse;
- emotional or psychological abuse;
- conduct or behaviour by the respondent that in any other way controls or dominates the VA and causes the VA to fear for his or her safety or wellbeing; or
- 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 conduct or 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 an individual with the death or injury of the individual.
“Emotional or psychological abuse” means conduct or behaviour by an individual towards another that torments, intimidates, harasses or is offensive to the other; or one that causes or may reasonably be expected to cause mental harm to the other individual, including thoughts of suicide or inflicting self-harm.
See VAA 2018, Section 2
“Neglect” in relation to a 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:
- living in grossly unsanitary or hazardous conditions;
- suffering from malnutrition or dehydration; or
- suffering from an untreated physical or mental illness or injury.
See VAA 2018, Section 2
You may apply for a Protective Order(s) if you are one of the following:
- a VA who has mental capacity and who is 21 years of age or above;
- a VA’s family member provided you are 21 years of age or above;
- a VA’s donee or deputy (if the VA lacks mental capacity to consent to the application for a Protective Order(s)).
For a VA or a family member who is below 21 years of age, you are required to appoint a litigation representative who is above 21 years of age, and whom in turn must act through a solicitor to proceed on the application.
A family member is defined, in relation to a VA, as:
- Child, including an adopted child or stepchild;
- Parent or parent-in-laws;
- Grandparent or grandchild; and
- Any other individual whom the court may regard as a member of the VA’s family.
Where appropriate, the Director of Social Welfare or the Protector (under the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF)) and an Approved Welfare Officer (appointed from Family Violence Specialist Centres) may also apply for a Protective Order(s) for the VA.
There are four (4) types of Protective Orders:
- a Restraining Order restraining the respondent from abusing or further abusing the VA;
- an Exclusion Order granting the VA the right of exclusive occupation of the VA’s place of residence or a specified part of the same, to the exclusion of the respondent;
- a Non-Access Order prohibiting the respondent from entering and remaining in an area outside the VA’s place of residence or any other place frequented by the VA; and
- a Non-Visitation or Non-Communication Order prohibiting the respondent from visiting or communicating with the VA.
Additionally, a person may apply for Expedited Orders (which are temporary Protective Orders issued pending the hearing of the application if the VA is experiencing, or is in imminent danger of, abuse or neglect).
See VAA 2018, Section 14(1)(e) to (h), 15
You may apply for a Protective Order(s) in person at the Family Protection Centre at Level 1 of the FJC at 3 Havelock Square, Singapore 059725.
Applications can also be made at any of the three (3) Family Violence Specialist Centres as follows:
Blk 211 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 3
Tel: 6555 0390
- TRANS SAFE Centre
Blk 410 Bedok North Avenue 2
Tel: 6449 9088
Care Corner Project StART
Blk 7A Commonwealth Avenue
Tel: 6476 1482
Before coming down to the FPC or an FVSC to make your application, you are encouraged to submit your application in draft and documents online by iFAMS. This means less time will be spent processing your application at the FPC or FVSC. The iFAMS application process is set out below.
- Have your Singpass ID and the required information. You can register for a Singpass ID here provided that you are eligible for it.
- Login to iFAMS and click "Vulnerable Adult Act Application" box
- Proceed to fill in the online form
- Save your information on how to use iFAMS, please refer to the iFAMS User Guide (500.62 KB)
If you are the VA, you will need to bring the following:
- your NRIC; and
- medical report(s) evidencing VA's physical or mental infirmity, disability or incapacity.
If you are the VA’s family member, you will need to bring the following:
- your NRIC; and
- any proof of your relationship with the VA;
- medical report(s) evidencing your physical or mental infirmity, disability or incapacity.
- the Consent Form duly signed by the VA if the VA does not lack mental capacity to consent to the application for a Protective Order, [click here for Form 64F of Practice Direction (24 KB)];
- a Mental Capacity Assessment Form (Simplified) duly signed by a registered medical practitioner [click here for Form 64A of Practice Direction (37 KB)]; if the VA lacks mental capacity to consent to the application for a Protective Order,
If you are the VA’s donee or deputy, you will need to bring the following:
- your NRIC;
- Lasting Powers of Attorney/Court order under the Mental Capacity Act (Cap. 177A, Rev, Ed 2010) appointing you as the VA’s deputy;
- medical report(s) evidencing the VA’s physical or mental infirmity, disability or incapacity;
- the Mental Capacity Assessment Form (Simplified) duly signed by a registered medical practitioner [click here for Form 64A of Practice Direction (37 KB)];
If you suspect that the VA is suffering from self-neglect, you may wish to seek assistance at any nearest Family Service Centre or Senior Activity Centre (Cluster Support). Alternatively, you may call the National Anti-Violence Helpline (NAVH) at 1800-777-0000.
You may wish to have your family member or friend accompany you to the Court. If no one is able to accompany you, you may discuss with the Court Family Specialists at the Family Protection Centre regarding alternative arrangements, such as requesting for video-link facilities.
You should report the matter to the police immediately.
Under Section 14(10) of the Vulnerable Adults Act 2018, a breach of a Protective Order is a criminal offence. The offence is punishable by a fine of up to $5,000 or by an imprisonment of up to 12 months or both. A second or subsequent offence is punishable by a fine of up to $8,000 or by an imprisonment of up to 18 months or both.
The Court will grant a Protective Order(s) if the Court is satisfied that the VA has experienced, or is experiencing or at risk of, abuse, neglect or self-neglect, and the order(s) is necessary for the protection and safety of the VA.
No, you do not need a lawyer to apply for a Protective Order(s).
However, if you are applying as a VA or are a family member applying for a VA but are below 21 years old, you will need to act through a litigation representative, who in turn must act through a solicitor. You may wish to seek independent advice under these circumstances. Further, in all other cases, if you wish to be legally represented at the court hearing, you may engage a lawyer.
To maintain impartiality, court staff are not able to provide legal advice or recommend lawyers. You may refer to the online directory of qualified lawyers maintained by the Ministry of Law Legal Services Regulatory Authority (LSRA e-Services). If you need legal assistance, you may seek help from the Community Justice Centre, Community Legal Clinics or
Legal Aid Bureau.