Singapore

Not enough done in family violence case? Police respond to online claims


SINGAPORE – The police, who had been alerted to a fight between a mother and daughter over the use of a washing machine, said on Friday (Jan 14) that they subsequently made multiple checks to ensure that things were okay in the family.

They were responding to allegations by another daughter, circulating on social media over the past week, that claimed that her parents are physically abusive and that not enough had been done to help her sister after the incident of alleged family violence.

In a Facebook post, the police said they followed up with the family after officers were first alerted to the incident at about 6.45pm on Dec 27 last year at a residential unit along Hullet Road in the Orchard Road area.

“When officers arrived, it was established that there had been a dispute and tussle between a mother and daughter over the use of a washing machine,” the police said.

“The tussle purportedly resulted in some superficial scratches on the arms of both mother and daughter.”

The officers interviewed the two separately, and offered to call an ambulance but the duo declined any medical assistance.

Officers spoke to the father when he returned home. He assured them that he would manage the family issue and make arrangements to separate the daughter from her mother if required.

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Based on the police’s records, this was the first time the family had called for help. After the incident, the police engaged the family multiple times.

They spoke to the daughter over the phone on Dec 30 last year and Jan 7, and met her on Jan 9 to determine her family situation and wellbeing.

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The police communicated separately with the mother on Dec 29 last year and Jan 6.

Both parties did not raise any further concerns or issues during these engagement sessions, and informed officers that there had been no other incidents since the one on Dec 27, the police said.

The mother and daughter accepted a suggestion from the police to refer the case to a family service centre for counselling and mediation.

A social worker from the centre has reached out to the daughter, who has also been given the contact details of a police officer whom she can reach out to directly.

On Jan 5, the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) spoke to the daughter and assessed that she was not in imminent danger. It referred her to a family service centre and will work with it to support her and her family.

The latest incident comes as the number of reported cases of family violence has spiked.

According to a report released by the Task Force on Family Violence, there were 4,574 inquiries about family violence received by centres that specialise in handling such cases in financial year 2020, a 57 per cent increase from the 2,906 received two years prior.

These centres saw their actual cases handled rise by a quarter to 1,103 over the same period.

More is being done to help social service agencies and other community partners detect and support those experiencing family and sexual violence, Minister of State for Social and Family Development Sun Xueling told Parliament on Wednesday.

Besides working to deepen the capabilities of the three family violence specialist centres here to support all those who experience any form of violence, MSF will ensure that these centres have the resources to manage their caseload, she added.

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If members of the public are experiencing family violence or know of someone who is a victim, they should call the National Anti-Violence Helpline on 1800-777-0000.

For urgent cases that require immediate assistance, call the police on 999 or SMS 71999.

This article was first published in The Straits TimesPermission required for reproduction.



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