Mr Zhulkarnain Abdul Rahim asked the Minister for Social and Family Development what are the measures taken by our social service officers including those from the crisis shelters and family violence specialist centres to continue with the monitoring of clients who are at risk of recurring violence during the prolonged period of stay at home under the current Phase 2 (Heightened Alert) measures while at the same time balancing the health and safety of these officers.
1. MSF’s statutory protective services, and social service agencies (SSAs) such as family violence specialist centres (FVSCs) and crisis shelters have continued to closely monitor the safety and well-being of clients who are assessed to face higher risk of recurring violence during all phases of the COVID-19 pandemic.
2. These are essential services that have remained operational, even during last year’s Circuit Breaker. MSF issues updated advisories to its own officers and to its community partners for each phase of the pandemic, to guide planning and safe delivery of social services during this exceptional time. Depending on the COVID-19 situation, the modalities of service delivery are adjusted to take into account prevailing safe management measures, without compromising the safety and support we provide to individuals and families facing family violence.
3. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, our FVSCs have continued to stay in touch with these individuals and families either through telephone calls or video calls. They have also continued to meet with clients with moderate to high needs in person, while taking the necessary safety precautions such as the use of well-ventilated rooms and desk shields where practicable. Crisis shelters have also adopted safe management measures, including split zones and split team arrangements for all staff and clients; MSF staff regularly audit the implementation of these safe management measures, and advise crisis shelters where relevant.