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Police report filed over allegations of physical punishment at Pertapis

The Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) has lodged a police report against Pertapis Children's Home following allegations of children being "inappropriately punished physically" by the shelter's staff.

SINGAPORE: The Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) has lodged a police report against Pertapis Children's Home following allegations of children being "inappropriately punished physically" by the shelter's staff.

The police have commenced investigations on the matter, the ministry said, adding that five of the home's staff have been redeployed to facilities not involving children.

In the interim, the home will also not be allowed to admit new residents.

MSF said it was alerted to the case from its existing feedback channels, which include the child protection and welfare hotline, inspections and unannounced visits to the homes. 

In a statement, the ministry said it will "not condone or tolerate any conduct or practice that compromises children's safety and well-being", adding that it has directed Pertapis to safeguard the welfare of the children in the home.

"These include taking active steps to improve child management practices in the home, as well as redeploying five staff to facilities not involving children, pending investigations," it added.

MSF has also directed Pertapis to work with the ministry to review its systems, processes, practices and supervision.

The home, which admits children from the age of 4 to 12, was established in 1991.

The children may be referred there by the Juvenile Court, Family Service Centres, other social service agencies and the MSF.

There are currently 61 children residing in the home, which is manned by 26 staff.  

Social and Family Development Minister Chan Chun Sing said he is "saddened" by the incident.

In a post on his Facebook page on Friday evening, Mr Chan said he has asked ministry staff to provide the children with necessary care and support.

He added that another group of staff will ensure Pertapis makes immediate improvements and reviews its systems and practices. 

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