SINGAPORE - Social service officers are being trained in ways to deal with conflict, including learning self-defence, said Dr Faishal Ibrahim, Parliamentary Secretary for Social and Family Development, in Parliament on Tuesday (April 12).
This was one of several measures taken by the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) after an employee was attacked in November last year.
Other measures to protect the officers include the installation of closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras and alarms in the interview rooms, said Dr Faishal during the debate of MSF's spending plans.
"While they have a good working relationship with most of those who seek help, they do encounter a few who may be verbally or physically abusive," he said.
"We have installed CCTV and duress alarms at all social service office interview rooms."
Dr Faishal, who is also the Parliamentary Secretary for Education, said that officers are being trained to de-escalate tense situations, and in self-defence.
Security officers have also been stationed at the social service offices (SSOs).
"We are training social service officers and selected frontline officers in de-escalation and self-defence. Some of our SSOs have security officers deployed. We will continue to take steps to protect our officers," he said.
In an incident which took place last November, an unemployed man seeking financial aid slapped and punched an MSF manager when she queried him about large withdrawals from his bank accounts. Mr Tan Seng Choon, 56, was jailed 24 weeks for assaulting Ms Lim Sock Ling. He rained 11 punches on her before a witness intervened.