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Singapore Government

Parliamentary Secretary (MSF) Ms Low Yen Ling's Remarks at the Opening of the SSI Training Course for ASEAN Participants

Parliamentary Secretary (MSF) Ms Low Yen Ling's Remarks at the Opening of the SSI Training Course for ASEAN Participants

Published On
08 Apr 2014

Your Excellencies
Distinguished Guests

A very good morning.

Family violence is an issue that affects all societies. We must continuously spread the message that family violence is not acceptable and should not be allowed to continue. Victims of family violence should seek the assistance that they need and our communities must play their part to stop such violence.

It is an issue that has been discussed by the governments of ASEAN. In October 2013, ASEAN Leaders adopted the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women and the Elimination of Violence against Children in ASEAN. This was an initiative of the ASEAN Commission on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Women and Children (ACWC). The Declaration seeks to address the issue in many ways, from strengthening national mechanisms; encouraging research, data collection and analysis on all forms of violence; to consolidating partnerships with external parties at international, regional, national and local levels.

Here in Singapore, we tackle violence against women and children through various strategies, such as having a robust legislative framework – the Women’s Charter, the Children and Young Persons Act, and the Penal Code just to name a few.

At the policy level, we have the Family Violence Dialogue, which was set up 13 years ago (2001) as a strategic development and planning policy group that helps, among other things, to coordinate public education efforts, and develop new areas for collaboration on family violence. It is jointly headed by the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) and the Singapore Police Force, and comprises stakeholders such as the health and education ministries, the National Council of Social Service and social service agencies.

At the operational level, the National Family Violence Networking System was established in 1996 to put a close network of support and assistance in place. This island-wide system provides multiple access points for victims to obtain help. It links together the Singapore Police Force, Prisons, hospitals, Family Service Centres, the Courts and MSF for closer collaboration and networking.

At the community level, six regional family violence working groups have been set up since 2003 to harness community energy to tackle family violence. They also serve as a channel to provide feedback on gaps in the provision of services for families affected by violence.

MSF and the Singapore Police Force also co-organise the annual National Family Violence Networking Symposium to strengthen partnerships between agencies and share best practices in policy, practice and research dealing with family violence. We have also set up two community-based specialist agencies on child protection to provide intensive and specialised assessment and treatment programmes to children and families with moderate risk and needs.

Frontline social workers, like all of you here today, play the most important part. You meet the victims of family violence in the course of your work. You hear their problems, see their anguish and experience their ordeal. And, you also hold in your hands the ability to give the victims the care and hope they need.

We are happy that you have accepted our invitation to join this course. We would like to thank all the ACWC Representatives for nominating you to attend the training course and to our Singapore Government Representatives to the ACWC, Dr Aline Wong and Mr Koh Choon Hui, for initiating this programme and for nominating PAVE and Big Love to take part in the course. We hope the knowledge and skills that all of you will learn in these three days will make a positive difference to those you serve in your communities, so that they can live meaningful and dignified lives.

May the next few days in Singapore be most fruitful and memorable. Thank you.

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