Forum: Gag order meant to protect victim of abuse at adult care home

I refer to Ms Chia Su-Yee's Forum letter "Have clear protocol for keeping residents in adult care homes safe" (Sept 25) and thank Ms Chia for her concern in this incident.

All homes which care for persons with disabilities are required to abide by the standards of care set by the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF).

The standards of care have been set in place to ensure the respect and well-being of residents. We work with homes to look into all incidents that concern the welfare and safety of their clients, and take immediate remedial action where lapses are found.

In the incident that Ms Chia raised, where the resident was assaulted by an adult care home worker, the management of the home had immediately reported the incident to MSF and the police when they found out about it.

This was in accordance with MSF's incident reporting protocol.

The adult care home also provided the necessary emotional support to the affected client and his family.

The adult care home has reiterated to all staff that physical abuse of residents is unacceptable, and that they have a duty of care to report any information on abuse to supervisors immediately. The perpetrator will be dealt with according to the law.

Where a gag order is applied for, the grant and the scope of the gag order are decided by the court based on the circumstances of each individual case and submissions from all relevant parties.

A gag order protects the identity of the victim, and seeks to prevent or minimise further trauma to the individual.

A gag order can also be extended to the identity of the accused if naming the accused is likely to lead to identification of the victim, for example, where the victim and accused are closely connected.

In the present case, the prosecution had applied for a gag order on the victim's identity and the name of the adult care home.

The order that the court granted guards against the publication of information that can potentially lead to the identification of the victim.

Lim Teck Kiat

Senior Director, Social Policy and Services Group

Ministry of Social and Family Development

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