Child abuse

Review divorce cases where shared care was not granted

It is heartening to note the increased attention being given to child abuse cases in Singapore and the work that social sector partners are doing (Social workers lauded for helping to curb child abuse; Oct 22).

While the Government and the social sector work at reducing the incidence in this area, every case of child abuse is one too many and it is important to also look at and address the contributory factors.

Recent reports and letters on the physical and sexual abuse of stepchildren have especially cast the spotlight on the predicament of children affected by divorce.

The disproportionate impact of abuse towards such children demands an honest, whole-of-society response that goes beyond enacting reactionary and punitive laws.

On this note, it may be helpful for the Ministry of Social and Family Development to also share how many of these abuse cases stem from divorced and broken families.

Extensive scientific research has established shared care to be in the best interest of children in the vast majority of divorce cases.

The fact that only 4 per cent of care and control orders granted in divorce are shared may likely be a major factor contributing to the significant number of child abuse cases in Singapore (Call to ease housing rule for divorcees sharing care of kids; July 12).

In the light of the compelling scientific evidence and to truly protect children affected by their parents' divorce, the Family Justice Courts should review all past orders where shared care and control was not granted, and perhaps grant shared care arrangements for all children where both biological parents are fit and willing.

Daniel Lim

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 05, 2018, with the headline 'Review divorce cases where shared care was not granted'. Print Edition | Subscribe