Family violence is everyone's business

The report on the abusive stepfather (Man kicked, punched and stepped on 4-year-old stepdaughter; May 18) highlights how young children can be abused severely behind closed doors over a prolonged period.

As a specialist organisation working with children and families who experience violence, Pave believes this case shows why anyone who is aware of family violence needs to raise the alarm early.

The little girl suffered no fewer than 29 injuries over two months. Could she have been spared the worst of it, had someone raised the alarm sooner?

Our experience tells us that once violence starts, it may not stop. It can persist and lead to serious consequences for victims, including severe injury or even death.

Children who are victims or witnesses of violence are especially vulnerable.

Traumatised young children are among the hardest to help and may need a long time to recover from the physical, psychological and emotional scars.

Children need adults to protect them, but sometimes a protective parent may be experiencing spousal abuse herself and is living in fear of the abuser.

Anyone who is aware of the abuse or suspects abuse can help.

Extended family members, neighbours, friends, teachers and schoolmates can play their part in alerting the authorities.

The tragedy of the young child in the news this week tells us we have to stop thinking that family violence is a private matter. It is everyone's business to be concerned and to help stop the violence.

Adisti Jalani (Ms)
Acting Principal Social Worker

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 20, 2017, with the headline 'Family violence is everyone's business'. Print Edition | Subscribe