To ask the Minister for Social and Family Development (a) what is the Ministry doing to reach out to persons of minority sexual orientations or gender identities who are facing physical, psychological or sexual violence from family members or intimate partners; (b) whether state-run institutions are trained to be sensitive to their needs and particular experiences when they report incidents of domestic violence; and (c) whether there are plans to launch awareness-raising campaigns and programmes to work with NGOs to support LGBTQ victim-survivors and reach out to those suffering in silence.
1. We do not and should not tolerate violence against any person, regardless of gender or sexual orientation.
2. The Penal Code criminalises violence and the use of force against all persons, including LGBTQ persons. The Protection from Harassment Act, or POHA, enables victims of harassment to apply for protection orders against their perpetrators. The recent Criminal Law Reform Act has strengthened protection in both the Penal Code and POHA, by enhancing penalties for offences against vulnerable persons and victims of violence in intimate or close relationships with the perpetrator. The recent POHA amendments have also strengthened the protection framework for intimate partners under POHA.
3. Our institutions and social workers are trained to be sensitive to the diverse needs of victims of violence, including those of LGBTQ persons. Victims of violence may approach our Social Service Agencies such as Family Violence Specialist Centres and Family Service Centres for assistance. These services are provided to anyone in need, without discrimination.
4. No victim of violence should have to suffer in silence. MSF has run public education initiatives to raise awareness. Our Break The Silence campaign, in particular, focuses on the role of bystanders in preventing and reporting acts of violence – regardless of marital status or sexual orientation of the victim.