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NUS sets up Victim Care Unit to help victims of sexual misconduct

NUS sets up Victim Care Unit to help victims of sexual misconduct

Associate Professor Sandy Lim, Director of the Victim Care Unit (VCU). (Photo: NUS)

SINGAPORE: The National University of Singapore (NUS) has set up a Victim Care Unit (VCU) for students who are victims of sexual misconduct.

In an internal circular to NUS students on Thursday (Aug 29), NUS Senior Deputy President and Provost Professor Ho Teck Hua announced the opening of the unit.

"It offers a safe space for victims to seek support from a team of trained professionals who are experienced in working with victims of sexual misconduct," he said in the circular.

Victims who contact the VCU will be assigned care officers who will "work with them to identify pressing needs and resources", Prof Ho said. 

"If needed, the care officers will also liaise with other units or agencies on their behalf, including referring them to counsellors."

The care officers have experience as counsellors, and working with the police, according to an article on the opening of the unit in NUS News.

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READ: 'Change has finally come': Monica Baey on NUS handling of sexual misconduct cases

The head of the VCU, Dr Sandy Lim, an associate professor in NUS Business School’s Department of Management and Organisation, is known for her work in the area of disrespectful or uncivil behaviour, including sexual misconduct, said Prof Ho. 

She has worked as a field psychologist at the Ministry of Defence and has experience providing psychological support to agencies in crises and national emergencies, he added.

“As long as they are students of NUS, they can come to us for support, regardless of who the perpetrators are or where the incidents happened," Assoc Prof Lim told NUS News.

READ: More secure shower cubicles, guards as NUS steps up security on campus

READ: 56 cases of sexual misconduct by university students in past 3 years, says Ong Ye Kung

The team of care officers will also be working on a survey of the student population to better understand the prevalence of sexual misconduct in NUS and will fine-tune their processes.

"Relying on just statistics from the campus security or the police is usually not very accurate, as these are just the reported cases,” NUS News reported Assoc Prof Lim as saying.

Students can contact the VCU via a 24-hour hotline, a confidential online contact form or email.

READ: The Big Read: Singapore’s voyeurism problem – what’s wrong with men, or the world?

READ: NUS sexual misconduct committee pledges 'transparent, consultative process'

In April, NUS undergraduate Monica Baey called for "justice" against a fellow student who filmed her having a shower at her hostel. The perpetrator was given a 12-month conditional warning from police and was suspended from school for a semester. 

Amid public backlash, Education Minister Ong Ye Kung described the penalties as “manifestly inadequate”. NUS had set up a review committee on sexual misconduct in mid-April which recommended tougher penalties for offenders and better support for the victims, among other proposed measures.

Source: CNA/ic(hm)


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