Singaporean man pushes baby off bed, breaking his skull – did he get the punishment he deserved?
Despite suffering from a broken skull, the one-year-old infant miraculously survived and is now undergoing therapy.
The Singaporean man who pushed his girlfriend's (then) one-year-old son 2metres away from the bed has been sentenced earlier this month to six-and-a-half years jail time and six strokes of the cane.
The injury was so severe that the child still has to undergo neurosurgical follow-ups after the incident. The boy, now 3 years old, is in foster care and is still undergoing major therapy including speech therapy, physiotherapy, music and play therapy.
The little boy's attacker, Franklie Tan Guang Wei had pleaded guilty to one charge of causing grievous hurt, one charge of child abuse and three counts of ill-treating a child.
The child's 25-year-old mother has been charged with two counts of permitting Tan to ill-treat the baby. Her trial is scheduled to begin on Sept 26.
What actually happened?
August 2014: the mother got into a relationship with Tan. A series of abuse and severe injuries unfolded within the next couple of months. Bruises and marks could be seen all over the infant's body. Two nannies who looked after him questioned his mother but she denied Tan's abuse, claiming that, "there were spirits in the flat".
November 2014: Tan, the infant, and his mother moved into Tan's flat after she got pregnant with his baby. This was when the abuse got worse. He would slap him, leaving finger marks on the cheeks and bruising near his ears.
The nanny made a police report about the injuries, signalling the Child Protective Service (CPS) to take action. The baby was then put in the nannies' care, and the mother and Tan were allowed only weekly supervised access.
January 2015: After a visit, the couple was suspended from all contact after baby was found with scratches on his thighs.
February 2015: Granted supervised access again.
March 2015: The couple was permitted to spend nights with him. But Tan pushed the infant off the bed twice within the month – the first time he landed on his mother, the second time, Tan was alone with him at home and he pushed the baby off because Tan was angry that the infant was vomiting all over the bed.
After landing on the floor, the baby vomited again, so Tan took him to the toilet to shower, but did not check the water temperature first, scalding his upper back.
Shortly after, Tan noticed the baby to be in a quiet, weak and semi-conscious state. He called the mother and they took the baby to the hospital for an emergency surgery.
Attacker was abused as a child
It was reported in The Star Online, that according to Tan's defence lawyer, he was physically, emotionally abused, and neglected when he was younger.
He also has persistent depressive disorder, poor emotion regulation and low intelligence.
The importance of love and affection
Looking at the circumstances, it is evident that Tan showed lack of emotion and sensitivity towards the child and his prior abuse could be the reason for the tendency to scar the life of a helpless infant.
This is why it is imperative to remind ourselves again and again that as parents, we must prevent abuse from becoming a form of punishment. We must never go overboard and let our emotions get the better of us, and always choose love and positive parenting as a way of disciplining your child.
Helplines for domestic abuse
If you are a victim of abuse do seek help. Or if you know of a friend, family member or even neighbours who might be suffering from abuse, do contact the helplines below:
Association of Women for Action and Research (AWARE)
1800-774-5935 (Mon-Fri, 3pm-9.30pm)