Differences between EPOs and POs under the Protection from Harassment Act in Singapore

The Protection from Harassment Act (POHA) in Singapore is a vital legislative framework that offers protection to individuals facing harassment. Within this act, Expedited Protection Orders (EPOs) and Protection Orders (POs) serve as crucial legal mechanisms to ensure the safety and well-being of victims. This article aims to delve into the key differences between EPOs and POs, shedding light on their unique characteristics and the legal processes associated with them.

Definition and Purpose

EPOs are immediate measures designed to provide urgent protection to victims of harassment. They are obtained swiftly, typically within 24 hours, to address imminent threats. In contrast, POs are long-term protective orders issued after a comprehensive hearing, intended to prevent further harassment and maintain the victim’s safety over an extended period.

Timing and Validity

EPOs are temporary orders with a typical validity period of up to 28 days. This short-term nature allows for immediate relief until a more comprehensive hearing can take place. On the other hand, POs offer sustained protection with no fixed validity period, providing ongoing security to victims.

Application Process

EPOs can be obtained quickly through an expedited process, often involving an application to the court supported by evidence of the urgency of the situation. POs, however, require a formal application to the court, which involves presenting evidence and allowing both parties to be heard during a hearing.

Urgency and Imminent Threat

EPOs are designed to address urgent situations where immediate protection is necessary. They are suitable for cases where there is an imminent threat to the victim’s safety, allowing swift intervention to prevent further harm. POs, while providing long-term protection, may not offer the same level of immediate relief as EPOs.

Legal Considerations

EPOs are granted based on the immediate necessity of protection, prioritising the victim’s safety. POs, issued after a comprehensive hearing, require a higher standard of evidence to establish the need for ongoing protection.

Duration and Renewal

EPOs have a limited validity period of up to 28 days. Upon expiration, the court may schedule a hearing to determine if a PO should be granted for extended protection. POs, once issued, remain in effect until further court decisions or actions modify or revoke them.

Extent of Protection

EPOs provide immediate relief and may include directives to cease harassment, maintain distance from the victim, or refrain from contact. POs offer more comprehensive protection with tailored provisions that can include restrictions on the harasser’s behaviour, communication, or approach towards the victim.

Hearing Process

EPOs are granted without a full hearing, primarily based on the immediate threat posed to the victim. POs, however, involve a formal hearing where both parties can present evidence, provide testimony, and be heard by the court before a decision is made.

Long-Term Solutions

While EPOs address immediate safety concerns, POs provide a platform for victims to seek long-term solutions. POs can include provisions for counselling, mediation, or other support services to help victims cope with the aftermath of harassment.

Flexibility and Adaptability

EPOs offer swift action and adaptability to address urgent situations, considering the evolving nature of harassment cases. POs, obtained after a comprehensive hearing, provide a more structured and tailored approach to address the specific circumstances of the harassment case.

Expedited Protection Orders (EPOs) and Protection Orders (POs) under the Protection from Harassment Act in Singapore play distinct roles in safeguarding victims of harassment. While EPOs offer immediate relief to address urgent threats, POs provide long-term protection after a comprehensive hearing process. Understanding the differences between these two types of orders is crucial for victims seeking legal remedies and navigating the legal landscape surrounding harassment in Singapore. By leveraging the provisions of both EPOs and POs, the aim is to create a safer environment where individuals can live free from harassment and intimidation.

Saxton Kaleb
the authorSaxton Kaleb