Over 5,000 police reports made in 2020 for family violence offences

The police have for the first time revealed figures on the number of reports made here in a year for family violence offences, as part of a commitment to protect victims.

Yesterday, the police said 5,135 such reports were made last year, and 1,115 of those cases were referred to family service centres or family violence specialist centres.

No figures were provided for previous years.

The offences included causing hurt, using criminal force, assault, criminal intimidation, and wrongful confinement.

Speaking to reporters during a visit to the Bedok Police Division yesterday, Minister of State for Home Affairs Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim said there was a 10 per cent rise in family violence cases every month between April and December last year.

He said the increase was expected as people spent longer hours at home compared with the pre-Covid-19 days.

“Family violence is something that happens behind closed doors and many have been shy to talk about it in the open. Over the years, (however), different agencies have brought the issue up to the public to (encourage) people to come forward,” said Dr Faishal.

The police had previously said that 476 reports were filed from April 7 to May 6 last year for offences commonly associated with family violence.

This was a 22 per cent jump from the monthly average of 389 for such cases before the circuit breaker period, which began on April 7 last year.

Dr Faishal also disclosed that the Home Team Community Assistance and Referral Scheme (HT Cares), which helps offenders address the root causes of their problems, will be expanded to cover their next of kin.

“We want to provide more holistic help for the families involved in such cases… If we are better able to understand their needs, we can reach out to various social service agencies that may be able to help them,” said Dr Faishal.

Under HT Cares, social workers stationed at police divisions consider the type of intervention required for offenders, and refer them to suitable agencies for help, including financial assistance or counselling sessions.

The scheme was piloted in January 2019 at the Bedok Police Division, and efforts are under way to extend it to all divisions by the end of this year.

Since it was launched, the police have referred 218 offenders to HT Cares officers.