New police command to help sexual crime and family violence victims

SINGAPORE – The police will arrange a brand new command, which goals to present victims of sexual crime and family violence with extra help, by 2023.

The Sexual Crime and Family Violence Command will likely be staffed by police officers who’ve specialised experience in dealing with sexual crime and family violence instances and who possess good sufferer administration expertise.

Announcing this on Tuesday (April 12), Law and Home Affairs Minister Okay. Shanmugam mentioned: “All of you recognize that (the Government) takes a really sturdy and agency stance on coping with sexual offences.

“Over the years… we’ve strengthened our legislative levers. The police have also been active in reviewing its processes. The police are also taking very active steps to increase public awareness about sexual assault and what victims can do.”

Mr Shanmugam was talking on the inaugural Sexual Assault Awareness Seminar held on the Police Cantonment Complex. It was attended by police officers and representatives from the Ministry of Social and Family Development and different organisations.

Between 2017 and 2020, there have been about 9,200 reviews of sexual assault, together with rape, sexual assault by penetration, outrage of modesty and sexual offences involving youngsters and weak victims, mentioned the police.

Of these, 869 had been allegedly dedicated by family members or kin.

Last 12 months, there have been 1,480 instances of concern of modesty, which accounted for 42.3 per cent of all sexual crime instances reported. This was a rise of about 12 per cent from the 1,321 instances in 2020.

Child sexual abuse instances jumped 70 per cent from 261 instances investigated in 2020 to 443 instances final 12 months – an 11-year excessive.

On Tuesday, Mr Shanmugam outlined how the police will likely be enhancing its coaching for police officers to allow them to higher reply to sexual crime instances. This will embody seminars the place officers will study the very best practices to handle sexual crimes.

Currently, sexual assault instances are investigated by specialist items within the Singapore Police Force, with the Serious Sexual Crimes Branch main investigations into rape and aggravated instances of sexual assault by penetration.

The police may even be launching a one-stop webpage later this 12 months, offering extra sources to the general public on the investigation processes for sexual crime instances and sufferer care measures obtainable.

Another space of focus would be the significance of DNA assortment within the context of sexual crimes. Citing an instance, Mr Shanmugam famous how the police had been in a position to crack a rape case that was unsolved for greater than a decade utilizing DNA proof.

In addition to these measures, the police will likely be working extra intently with group companions to higher help sexual assault victims.

Care Corner Project Start (CCPS) is one group associate that gives help to victims of violence.

Ms Kristine Lam, lead social employee at CCPS, mentioned victims endure various kinds of trauma, akin to nightmares, anxiousness and worry of going out.

She gave an instance she got here throughout: “The victim did not even dare to pick up calls from unknown numbers, because anything that she doesn’t know, she just doesn’t dare to try.”

This additionally included a worry of on-line ordering, as a result of the sufferer’s cellphone quantity can be shared with the logistical firm and past.

Station Inspector Norain Omar from the police’s present Special Victims Unit mentioned that each sufferer’s situation is exclusive, however some telltale indicators are being evasive or digressing from the dialog subject. For occasion, if the sexual assault occurred at dwelling, victims may keep away from speaking about their dwelling. 

Earlier this month, a new charity, SG Her Empowerment, was arrange to deal with on-line and sexual harms in opposition to girls.

Led by veteran lawyer Stefanie Yuen Thio, the charity will work intently with the Law Society to present professional bono authorized recommendation to victims.

Mr Shanmugam mentioned: “I am glad to see a new community-led charity working to empower women and girls and continuing the dialogues started in the Conversations on Women’s Development and recent White Paper on Singapore Women’s Development.”

Last week, Parliament handed the White Paper, which supplies a 10-year street map to guaranteeing all girls in Singapore have higher entry to alternatives and extra equal partnerships with males.

The White Paper additionally covers plans to help victims of violence, so extra victims can report abuse and search quick help from the police and social service professionals.

Police initiatives to help sexual crime victims

1. One built-in multi-disciplinary interview for kids sexually abused by their family members

Since the implementation of this at KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital in 2018, younger victims of sexual assault by family members have been present process one built-in interview by numerous events – police officers, Ministry of Social and Family Development officers and medical doctors.

This eliminates the necessity for victims to recount their experiences repeatedly, which might be traumatic.

2. One-Stop Abuse Forensic Examination (OneSAFE) Centre

At the OneSAFE centre on the Police Cantonment Complex, victims bear forensic medical examinations and interviews at a single, personal location.

3. Victim Care Cadre Programme

This programme was carried out in 2014. Volunteers with related {qualifications} and expertise in psychology, counselling or social work are skilled to present victims with emotional help all through the felony justice course of.

4. Sensitivity coaching for police officers

All police officers are skilled to deal with victims with sensitivity. In addition, investigation officers dealing with sexual crimes are skilled to handle the victims to minimise potential trauma throughout interviews.

5. Information pamphlet on investigation and court docket processes for victims

Designed by the police and the Ministry of Law, the pamphlet educates victims on investigation and court docket processes, and encourages them to step ahead.

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