The court will charge a 42-year-old Singapore woman for allegedly hurting her former domestic worker. The incident dates back to October 30, 2020, when local police received a report about domestic helper abuse of a 49-year-old Indonesian woman by her employer.
Speaking to local media, the police said, “As the domestic worker had returned to Indonesia when the report was received, efforts were taken to facilitate her return to Singapore to assist with investigations.”
Indonesian Woman Abused By Employer Using A Heated Iron
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Police investigation revealed that the employer allegedly assaulted the Indonesian foreign domestic worker multiple times between February and October 2020.
The abuses included pressing a heated iron on to the helper’s right forearm, punching and hitting the woman’s eyes with her fists, as well as from objects like clothes hangers.
The police have charged the 42-year-old woman with two counts of voluntarily causing hurt. She is also charged with one count of voluntarily causing hurt by dangerous means and one count of voluntarily causing grievous hurt.
In cases of domestic helper abuse, each of the charges carries twice the maximum punishment provided for the offences.
Adding further, the Singapore police said, “The Government takes a serious view of the ill-treatment of foreign domestic workers. The police will not hesitate to take action against errant employers and ensure they are dealt with firmly in accordance with the law.”
This case has once again brought to fore the heinous crimes against foreign domestic workers and the need for stringent checks. Which is why the news of MOM home visits is a welcome relief to many FDWs.
MOM Conducting Home Visits To Curb Domestic Helper Abuse
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To curb domestic helper abuse, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) recently decided to start visits to houses that employ FDWs.
Announcing its plan on April 26, 2021, the ministry said that its MOM officers will begin checking the living conditions of maids. The exercise will see the officers visiting 200 homes a month for a start.
MOM’s director of engagement Tan Shu Xiang confirmed that the home visits will happen at random. So far, MOM offices have conducted 100 home visits with no issues found in the majority of the houses, said Mr Tan.
The new measures will help the ministry respond appropriately to the needs and concerns of the domestic workers.
Furthermore, domestic workers will have the privacy and space needed to speak to the MOM officers. But the officers will not stop employers from listening in on the interview.
“During these home visits, our MOM officers will actually be checking on the working and living environments of the migrant domestic workers, so as to ensure that they are well settled in,” added Mr Tan.
The officers will also remind employers and domestic workers about safe working conditions. They will also share information about channels to seek assistance if need be. MOM officers inform the employers a week prior to the visit. If the employers refuse the visit, they will have to bring the maid to MOM for the interview.
CDE Plans In-person Interviews With Maids
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MOM also plans to expand in-person interviews to all first-time maids by the end of this year.
The Centre for Domestic Employees (CDE) aims to interview about 2000 maids per month. It has conducted in-person interviews with first-time maids since 2017. This happens normally after the maid has completed three to six months on the job.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the interviews are taking place via video calls. But CDE plans to resume in-person interviews by May this year. So far MOM officers have seen maids raise concerns about the harsh tone of the employer and insufficient rest. In such cases, MOM officers have spoken to employers to resolve issues.
They also work with the employers on the maid’s schedule to ensure she is given enough time to rest. There have also been cases where the employers praised the maid for her work.
MOM officers will escalate serious issues for investigation. If the maid shows signs of abuse, the officers will call the police immediately.
Contact MOM In Case Of Domestic Helper Abuse
In case you see or know about a victim of maid abuse in Singapore, please get in touch with the Foreign Domestic Workers (FDW) helpline at 1800 339 5505. A Ministry of Manpower (MOM) officer will get in touch with you and help you take the case forward.
News Source: CNA