9 January 2018
Er Dr Lee Bee Wah
MP for Nee Soon GRC
To ask the Minister for Social and Family Development (a) what are the common causes of family violence; (b) whether more can be done to identify at-risk families and prevent such violence especially silent victims; (c) how many cases have reported by non-family members in the past three years; and (d) when will public consultation be held for a Vulnerable Adults Bill.
1 In the last year, one in three callers who called the ComCare Hotline on family violence matters were non-family members. On average, the ComCare hotline receives about 60 calls annually on family violence related matters. One common cause of family violence stems from the controlling behaviour of one family member over other family members, resulting in intimidation or violence. Some families also face difficulties in coping with stressors such as marital, financial, or health challenges.
2 Family violence is not a private matter. MSF's "Break the Silence Against Family Violence" campaign aims to raise awareness of family violence, to equip bystanders with resources and skills to safely step in to help victims. The National Family Violence Networking System links various agencies to provide multiple access points for victims to obtain help. Victims of violence have access to hotline services and social service agencies specialising in family violence work. These agencies provide facilities for the application of Personal Protection Orders through video-conferencing, medical services, legal advice, and counselling services.
3 The Penal Code, the Women's Charter and the Protection from Harassment Act provide protection for victims from violence, including family violence. The proposed Vulnerable Adults Bill will be an additional lever to allow statutory intervention in high-risk cases involving maltreatment and abuse of vulnerable adults. Public consultation on the draft Bill was held in the second half of 2016, and MSF is finalising the provisions with relevant stakeholders before introducing the Bill in Parliament this year.