2 October 2017
Er Dr Lee Bee Wah
MP for Nee Soon GRC
To ask the Minister for Social and Family Development (a) in the past three years, how many domestic violence cases against women, especially those above 50 years, have been reported; (b) what is the Ministry doing to reach out to those who may be suffering in silence; and (c) whether the Ministry will look into ways to raise public awareness and work with grassroots groups to reach out to the silent victims.
1. Over the last three years, the Family Justice Courts received a yearly average of about 2,800 applications for Personal Protection Orders against an abusive family member. Around 75% of the applications were made by women. Of these women, about 20% or about 450 applications were above 50 years of age.
2. No one should suffer alone in silence. A strong partnership among Government agencies and community partners is necessary to ensure that those affected by violence receive the needed help, and receive it early. The National Family Violence Networking System or NFVNS was established more than 20 years ago for victims to be assisted by touch points such as Family Service Centres and Family Violence Specialist Centres.
3. Family violence is not a private matter. This is why MSF launched the “Break the Silence | Against Family Violence” campaign last year. This campaign raises awareness about family violence through platforms such as social media and community roadshows. It also involves collaboration with community and corporate partners to equip bystanders with resources and skills to safely step in to help victims.
4. We train partners and grassroots organisations to understand family violence, and importantly, to identify families experiencing violence early. Recently, MSF facilitated a conversation with Taman Jurong CCC, Fei Yue FSC, Jurong West Neighbourhood Police Centre and SSO@ Taman Jurong, on ways to prevent and intervene in family violence situations together. This saw participation from grassroots leaders, schools, arts and sports groups, corporates, self-help groups, Ng Teng Fong General Hospital and the Police. Such initiatives deepen the awareness of family violence, and enable more people to break the silence and reach out to seek help for those affected.