Scheme to help family violence offenders address social causes of their crimes to cover next-of-kin

Scheme to help family violence offenders address social causes of their crimes to cover next-of-kin

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Photo illustration of an assault. (Photo illustration: Ngau Kai Yan)

SINGAPORE: A scheme to help family violence offenders address the social root causes of their crimes will be expanded to cover their next-of-kin, said Minister of State for Home Affairs Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim on Thursday (Jan 21).

It will also be rolled out to all police land divisions in Singapore, in addition to its current location at Bedok Police Division. 

Under the Home Team Community Assistance and Referral Scheme (HT CARES), the police will refer family violence offenders to social workers, otherwise known as CARES officers, who will assess whether social intervention is needed.

“CARES officers will interview the offenders to establish their socio-economic circumstances that might have contributed to their offending behaviour and refer them to the appropriate social service agencies for assistance.”

The police expect to complete both expansions by this year.

READ: Fewer personal protection orders against family violence issued in April and May during COVID-19 circuit breaker

The HT CARES was introduced in January 2019 in consultation with the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF). So far the police have referred 218 offenders to CARES officers for social intervention.

In May last year, the police said that reports related to family violence have increased by 22 per cent since the beginning of the "circuit breaker" period in April.

Speaking to reporters on Thursday during a visit to the Bedok Police Division, Mr Faishal said that on average, the number of family violence reports per month have increased by about 10 per cent.

READ: The ‘invisible problem’ of family violence: Older women who suffer in silence

READ: New AWARE chat service to provide more support for victims of abuse and violence 

“When we look at the number of family violence incidents from April to December, we saw an increase of 10 per cent monthly, and I think this is something that we expect. 

"As you can see, internationally, we also saw an increase in the incidence from the reports that have been shared around the world,” he said.

The police said they received 5,135 reports for offences associated with family violence and referred 1,115 cases to Family Service Centres (FSCs) or Family Violence Specialist Centre (FVSCs) last year.

This is the first time they have released annual figures for police reports on offences associated with family violence.

Source: CNA/kv(ta)

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