The pandemic has seen people spend more time at home over the past year. While this meant more family time, it also meant a rise in domestic violence cases and abuse among women and children during this period.
In fact, the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) recently shared data showcasing a spike in the number of child abuse cases in 2020. The authorities investigated a record number of child abuse cases last year, the highest in a decade.
As per the data shared by MSF, the number of child abuse cases has grown by three times since 2011. Sadly, this has been the case with both sexual and physical abuse cases.
However, while the number of cases is high, it may not necessarily mean an increase in the number of child abuse incidents in the country.
Instead, it just points towards the need for more awareness among citizens and mediums to report cases to authorities.
Child Abuse Cases In Singapore: A Look At The Rising Numbers
According to the data shared by MSF, the number of enquiries received by MSF’s Child Protective Service (CPS) jumped from 2,022 in 2015 to 5,223 in 2020.
Number of Enquiries Received:
Table credits: MSF
The number of child protection investigation also increased. For instance, in 2011, 138 cases of physical violence were investigated by MSF CPS. Whereas, in 2020, the numbers increased to 677.
Number of Child protection investigations by year & type of abuse:
Types of Abuse
Table Credits: MSF
Here’s a look at the numbers in the chart
The total number of investigated cases including physical abuse, sexual abuse and neglect was 415 in 2011. These numbers jumped to 1,313 in 2020.
MSF attributed the high number of cases investigated to its stepped-up efforts in training professionals, ensuring easy access to help as well as awareness among people.
How MSF Is Tackling The Issue Since 2015:
Image courtesy: iStock
MSF introduced rigorous screening tools and training for professionals such as social workers, educators, counsellors and health professionals.
As a result, it helped sharpen their ability to pick up safety concerns for a child and seek the appropriate intervention. This includes supporting children and families with community-based help such as Family Service Centres (FSCs) or Child Protection Specialist Centres (CPSCs) or referring serious cases of harm to MSF’s CPS for intervention.
More child abuse cases in Singapore started coming to the front after MSF stepped u child protection and family violence over the years.
So it has been a continuous effort over all these years. The increase in the number of enquiries received by MSF CPS in 2020 was mainly due to people being more aware of family violence and calling CPS’s helpline number.
What also needs to be highlighted that these calls included general enquiries that may not involve actual incidences of violence. The increase in the number of cases investigated by MSF CPS in 2020 was in line with the increase in enquiries and mainly due to the increased number of referrals from MSF CPS’s partners in the community.
If your child is a victim of any form of abuse, the first important thing which you need to do is stay calm and assure your child that you are there for him or her. Here are some helpline numbers which you can contact
Child Abuse Cases in Singapore: Helpline Numbers
1. Ministry of Social and Family Development Child Protection and Welfare Service
Phone: 1800-7770000 (Mon-Fri: 8.30am to 5.30pm)
Counter Opening Hours: Mon-Fri: 8.30 am to 5.30 pm
Address: 512 Thomson Rd #10-00 MSF Building, S(298136)
Phone: 6273 2010 (Call Between 8:30 am to 5:30 pm)
Email id: email@example.com
The website mentions in line with the nation’s latest Phase Two (Heightened Alert) status, our Corporate Office and service centres will be closed to visitors from 17 May 2021 until further notice.
3.Heart @ Fei Yue Child Protection Specialist Centre
Phone: 6819-9170, Mon-Fri 9:30am – 5.30pm.
Education and awareness about child sexual abuse are extremely important. As parents, you can equip your child in the best possible way to protect herself from sexual abuse.
It is also very important to trust them and believe in what they say. Also, watch out for any red flags in their behaviour. For instance, if you find them to be aggressive all of sudden or if they are suffering from loneliness. Remember, some children suffer in silence. It may be due to guilt, shame and fear.
If you are finding it difficult to address the issue, a counsellor can help your child by taking them through the healing process one step at a time. Give it some time and help your child overcome the traumatic phase of their life.
Stay alert and be safe!