Important to break silence on family violence

The Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) does not condone any form of family violence, including the abuse or neglect of a child ("Violence towards kids is not 'family business'" by Dr Joel Gwynne; Aug 16, "Speak up against abuse" by Madam Ng Poh Leng; Aug 19, and "Everyone can play a part in stopping child abuse" by Ms Ng Kwai Sim; last Saturday).

Family violence is not a private matter. Everyone has a responsibility to prevent or stop it.

MSF is heartened that readers have spoken up against the father slapping his one-year-old son.

Family violence is a complex issue and can take many forms. Excessive disciplining of children can change very quickly to abuse.

It is important that parents learn best practices in managing their children.

MSF works with schools and community partners to provide programmes, such as Signpost and the Positive Parenting Programme, to equip parents with the knowledge and skills needed to care for their children, manage their behaviours and communicate effectively with them.

MSF strongly encourages all parents to invest time and effort to proactively strengthen their relationships with their children.

Over the years, MSF has been collaborating with community agencies to step up efforts to raise awareness on family violence.

As bystanders are often witnesses to violence, their response to such incidents is critical to preventing further abuse and could even save lives.

MSF is launching an awareness campaign called "Break the Silence". It will encourage members of the public, who may witness family violence, to act.

Family members, friends and even strangers can play a part in the prevention of family violence by stepping in to stop the violence before it escalates.

Over time and together with our community partners, we aim to cultivate a community that cares to stand up against family violence.

Where there are concerns of suspected family violence, the public should call a family violence specialist centre (Pave: 6555-0390; Trans Safe Centre: 6449-9088; Care Corner Project StART: 6476-1482), a child protection specialist centre (Heart@ Fei Yue: 6819-9170; Big Love Child Protection Specialist Centre: 6455-0400) or the ComCare line (1800-222-0000).

However, in the event that a life is in danger, they should contact the police immediately.

Elaine Loo (Ms)
Director
Operations and Service Capability
Rehabilitation and Protection Group
Ministry of Social and Family Development

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 27, 2016, with the headline 'Important to break silence on family violence'. Print Edition | Subscribe