Dating violence should be nipped in the bud because some of those in abusive relationships would end up marrying their abusers, said Pave's executive director Sudha Nair.
Their children would eventually get involved as well, she added.
Violence may not always be physical but it is just as harmful, said the experts.
Ms Sheena Jebal, CEO of Nulife Counselling, said: "It usually starts off with words to belittle the victim, then breaking things in front of them to frighten them before it escalates to a slap, then hitting.
"They would also isolate the victim, who would think there is no one to help them.
"If the abuse is not reported, the abuser would take advantage of the situation and this pattern of abuse would continue."
Women rights group Aware said it received 70 calls relating to (non-married) intimate partner violence (IPV) on its hotline last year.
Aware spokesman Jolene Tan said: "Spousal abuse and intimate partner violence are very similar - they are about one partner exerting power and control over the other.
"Even though they aren't married to the abuser, it can be very difficult for people facing IPV to leave the situation or the relationship, and they may enjoy fewer legal options and less social support.
"For example, Personal Protection Orders (PPOs) under the Women's Charter are not available for IPV.
"Unlike PPOs, breaches of Protection Orders under the Protection from Harassment Act are not seizable."
When an offence is seizable, the police are legally empowered to arrest without a warrant.
Dr Nair thinks the brunt of the law usually sends a strong message to abusers. Some of them would have to attend mandatory counselling with Pave.
"The focus of counselling sessions is to stop the violence and the only person who can stop the violence is the person who uses it," she said.
"We get the abusers to take responsibility for their actions and teach them the steps that they can take when they face conflicts."
Enhanced protection for victims
Protection for victims of family violence was enhanced, with amendments made to the Women's Charter passed in Parliament yesterday:
EXPOSING PLACES OF SAFETY IS PROHIBITED
Places of safety are meant to provide temporary shelter to victims of family violence, their family members and other individuals who are facing a crisis.
Those who publish information that will identify the place of safety or its residents, either in a newspaper or social media, will be liable to a fine.
OTHER CARE OPTIONS FOR FEMALES
Those who need protection may be put under the care of a "fit individual" who might be a relative or a close friend.
Currently, the Director of Social Welfare may make order to place women and girls in need of protection in a shelter or children's home, while the circumstances of their cases are being investigated.
Bill passed to allow husbands to apply for spousal maintenance
l Pave (Promoting Alternatives to Violence): 6555 0390
l Trans Safe Centre: 6449 9088
l Care Corner Project StART: 6476 1482
l Aware: 1800 774 5935
l NuLife Care & Counselling: 6300 8706
This article was first published on March 01, 2016.
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