SINGAPORE: For repeatedly abusing her foreign domestic helper over the course of several months, a woman was sentenced to 10 months and two weeks jail on Wednesday (Nov 18).
On one occasion Nuur Audadi Yusoff, 31, hit her 24-year-old helper so badly that the victim's face bled, prompting the younger woman to climb down 15 storeys from the flat to escape.
Nuur Audadi pleaded guilty in September to six charges of voluntarily causing hurt to her helper between Dec 2017 and May 2018.
This included spitting on the victim, slapping her and dragging her by the hair because she sang to Nuur Audadi’s children or did not give them a shower.
Upon discovering her helper's mobile phone and finding out that she had uploaded photos of her children on Facebook, Nuur Audadi slapped the victim's face with the phone until she bled.
Nuur Audadi also called the younger woman a prostitute and accused her of flirting with her husband, later hitting the victim's face and back with a broom.
The abuse the helper suffered led to her decision to escape and in the early hours of May 1, 2018, she climbed out to the balcony of the locked flat and scaled 15 storeys down, lowering herself balcony by balcony until she reached the ground floor.
She later lodged a police report after turning to her agent for help.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Chong Kee En noted that Nuur Audadi had apologised to the victim - who stayed at her embassy following her escape - and paid her S$7,020 as compensation for the injuries inflicted in addition to four months worth of lost income.
These however came “very late”, he said, urging the court to place little mitigating weight on them.
During the period of the abuse, Nuur Audadi was working as a Singtel employee deployed to support the Ministry of Manpower's (MOM) support centre.
Mr Chong added that having worked with MOM, Nuur Audadi should have known better.
In his mitigation, Nuur Audadi’s lawyer Kalaithasan Karuppaya of Regent Law pleaded for leniency and compassion for his client.
Mr Kalaithasan added that his client wished to delay serving her sentence until after Jan 7 next year, when her son was due to undergo surgery.
Nuur Audadi however stated she did not wish to delay matters further and is willing to begin serving her sentence immediately.
District Judge Ronald Gwee noted the “cruel treatment” the victim experienced, having suffered both physical and psychological abuse at the hands of her employer.
The victim’s willingness to climb down 15 storeys to escape from Nuur Audadi’s abuse captured the “hopeless situation” that the foreign domestic worker had found herself in, he added.
“It is clear that a deterrent sentence must be meted out in this case to send a strong message that such cruel behaviour is simply unacceptable,” he said.
For each charge of voluntarily causing hurt, Nuur Audadi could have been jailed for up to two years, fined up to S$5,000, or both.
As the offences were against a domestic maid, the penalties could have been increased up to one-and-a-half times the maximum.