The constant rise of child abuse cases in Singapore hit a sharp spike after reaching a decade high in 2020.
In this article, you’ll read:
- The continuous rise of child abuse cases in Singapore
- Child abuse investigations
- What you can do to prevent child abuse
The Continuous Rise of Child Abuse cases in Singapore
According to Singaporean authorities, there was a massive spike in the number of child abuses cases in 2021. It follows the rise in the year 2020. The data from the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) say that the 2021 record was the highest number of cases in a decade.
Furthermore, neglect cases include children who were inadequately supervised. They experience emotional abuse or medical neglect.
The MSF’s Child Protective Service (CPS) was able to investigate 2,141 cases of abuse in 2021. It was 63% more than the 1,313 cases in 2020. In 2021, 910 incidents of neglect accounted for the majority of the investigations. The rate also doubled from 375 in the previous year.
Child abuse occurs to minors under 18 years old. They are mistreated or neglected by an adult. It results in harm, the potential for harm, or the threat of imminent harm.
The adult who causes abuse may be a relative, caregiver, step-parent, religious figure, coach, or babysitter. However, the majority of the perpetrators are parents of the child.
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There are different types of child abuse such as emotional, sexual, and physical abuse.
Cases of Child Abuse in Singapore
Mr Desmurn Lim, director of charity Montfort Care’s Big Love programme, said, “Some neglected and underfed children injured themselves when they tried to do chores, or cook for themselves.”
Meanwhile, the child sexual abuse cases jump 70% of cases investigated from 2020 to 2022. Moreover, physical abuse cases rose by 16% from 677 cases investigated in 2020 to 788 cases in 2021.
According to MSF, they were able to investigate more cases because of the referrals from CPS community partners. These include family service centres, schools and child protection specialist centres.
The Child Protective Service deals with more serious cases. For instance, parents who fail to provide adequate food, clothing or medical care for their children. They may also deliberately inflict serious injuries on their kids.
According to Ms Shailey Hingorani, head of research and advocacy of the Association of Women for Action and Research (Aware), “The increase in numbers drives home the importance of comprehensive sexuality education.”
The cases include adults who are getting support for experiences that they faced in their childhoods.
She cites reports of child sexual abuse survivors. They only realise that they were experiencing inappropriate treatment after taking sexuality education classes in school.
“This speaks to how we might be able to both bring child sexual abuse to light and also prevent it from happening,” she added.
Child Abuse investigations
According to authorities, the increase in child abuse cases was mainly due to outreach efforts and public awareness. More people are calling the National Anti-Violence Helpline on 1800-777-0000. It is a 24-hour helpline for people to report family violence, as well as cases of abuse and neglect.
The Ministry of Social and Family Development stepped up
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In 2015, MSF was able to introduce more rigorous screening tools to sharpen their ability to pick up safety concerns. They also enhanced training for professionals such as social workers, educators, counsellors, and health experts. Their main goal is to immediately notice safety concerns for a child and seek the appropriate intervention.
Furthermore, MSF supports children and families with community-based help such as through Family Service Centres or Child Protection Specialist Centres. These communities refer serious cases of harm to MSF’s Child Protective Service (CPS) for intervention.
For the past few years, MSF strived to improve their public education efforts on child protection and family violence. It helped in uncovering more cases concerning child abuse.
10 Things You Can Do to Prevent Child Abuse
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Get involved with your community.
- Discipline your children thoughtfully
Discipline is a way to teach your child. Keep in mind that it is best to encourage good behaviour.
Be a nurturing parent. Use your actions to show children and other adults that conflicts can be settled without hitting or yelling.
- Educate yourself and others
It is important to be well-informed about this kind of matter. With this, you can be a voice in support of these efforts in your community.
- Teach children their rights
When children are aware of their rights, they are less likely to think abuse is their fault. This may also encourage them to recognise and report offenders.
- Support prevention programs
Invest in programs that aim to prevent any kind of child abuse.
Learn the different types of child abuse such as neglect, emotional, physical, and sexual abuse.
Unexplained injuries are not the only sign of child abuse. It could also be depression, fear of a certain adult, difficulty trusting others or making friends, etc.
If you happen to witness any form of child abuse, do not hesitate to report the incident to authorities.
Be supportive of children and help promote a family-friendly work environment.
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