More abused foreign brides seeking help
Many turn to the courts for protection only after they have suffered in silence for years
There has been a sharp rise in the number of foreign women seeking protection from violent Singaporean husbands, exposing a dark side to the growing trend of men marrying women from other parts of Asia.
Most of the women said they endured regular slapping, beatings, verbal abuse and psychological bullying, and were threatened that they would be sent home and separated from their children if they reported the abuse.
Many turned to the courts for protection only after years of abuse when they could no longer put up with it or felt their lives were in danger, social workers said.
Most of the abused foreign women that social workers help are from China, India, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.
Not just fist-happy
The abuse is not just physical. Some men also lock their foreign wives at home, do not allow them to go out on their own or make friends or work, fearing that they will gain more independence and cheat on them. Others threaten harm, blackmail their wives or rain verbal abuse on them.
HOW TO GET A PROTECTION ORDER
Victims of abuse can apply for a personal protection order (PPO) by approaching the Protection Order Services at the Family and Juvenile Court Building, 3 Havelock Square.
A staff member will help, and if needed, draw up a plan to keep the victim safe from the abuser - for example, by referring her to a shelter.
The abuser will be summoned before the judge who hears the victim's application for a PPO. The court usually orders the abuser to attend counselling to help him stop his violent behaviour. Victims are also given counselling and other support.
If the abuser hits the victim after a PPO is issued, he can be fined up to $2,000 or jailed for up to six months, or both. The penalties get heavier for second and subsequent convictions.
For more information, call 6435-5077 or 1800-587-8423.
Anyone affected by family violence can call the following centres for help.
- Pave Tel: 6555-0390
- Trans Safe Centre Tel: 6449-9088
- Care Corner Project Start Tel: 6476-1482