SINGAPORE: There has been an upward trend in the child and elder abuse cases in the past five years, Senior Parliamentary Secretary for the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim said in Parliament on Monday (Feb 11).
While he did not provide year-on-year numbers, he said MSF’s Child Protective Service has investigated an average of 600 child abuse cases annually in the past five years. Since the Adult Protective Service was set up in 2015, MSF has investigated an average of 78 cases annually involving elders above the age of 65, he said.
He was responding to a question from Ang Mo Kio GRC MP Intan Azura Mokhtar on how many cases of child abuse and elder abuse have been reported annually, and a follow-up question from Workers’ Party MP Faisal Manap on whether there was an upward or downward trend.
Dr Faishal attributed the increase in the number to efforts to increase awareness on breaking the silence on abuse.
“Because of our efforts to increase awareness and sharpen tools with regards to those who are involved in (helping with) this area, people are able to identify cases easily and bring forward anything they find not right,” Dr Faishal said.
MSF is training educators, healthcare professionals, counsellors and social workers, to sharpen the tools used to respond to and engage those who are affected by such abuse, he said.
Dr Intan also asked what the common types of abuse inflicted on these children and elderly victims are, and what the common types of familial relationship the perpetrators have with the victims.
Close to 90 per cent of perpetrators in child abuse cases investigated by MSF are family members, involving a parent or step parent, while in elder abuse, 80 per cent of perpetrators are family members including children and spouses, Dr Faishal said. The majority of both child and elder abuse cases involved physical abuse or neglect, he added.
“MSF will continue to work closely with families and community partners to keep individuals safe,” he said.