Mother kicks daughter, breaking her teeth; pleads guilty to child abuse

SINGAPORE - A housewife who claimed she was disciplining her two daughters, aged six and 10, slapped, kicked and even dragged one of them by the hair when she was left alone with them.

Her abusive behaviour came to light when her husband, 37, returned home and discovered the older girl's front teeth were broken.

The child's father took her to KK Women's and Children's Hospital (KKH), where a police report was made against the woman.

But the 38-year-old mother downplayed the extent of the attacks to investigating officers and also told her elder daughter to lie to a child protection officer.

On Thursday (Sept 16), the woman appeared before a district court via video link with a blank expression and admitted to seven counts of abusing her daughters.

The woman, who cannot be named to protect the identity of her children, also has a son whose age was not stated in court documents.

Four other similar charges will be taken into consideration for her sentencing at a later date.

A psychiatric report found that the woman was not suffering from any mental illness at the time of the offences.

The court heard that in December 2018, her husband installed a closed-circuit television (CCTV) camera in the living room of their home for occasions when the children were left alone.

On June 18, 2019, he discovered that his elder daughter's front teeth were broken. She told him that her mother had slapped and kicked her, causing her mouth to bleed and her front teeth to break.

He took her to KKH without confronting his wife. The girl was given two days of medical leave.

The father later checked the CCTV footage and found that his wife had assaulted both daughters on other occasions.

Several clips of CCTV footage played in court showed the woman assaulting the girls by slapping, pinching and kicking them. She was also seen pulling the older girl's ears and dragging her into a bedroom by her hair.

The older daughter revealed during investigations that the abuse started when she was in Kindergarten 2 but worsened in 2018.

She did not tell her father because she was afraid of more beatings, Deputy Public Prosecutor Lim Ying Min told the court.

On Dec 1, 2019, when police investigations were under way and child protection services had intervened, the woman threw a marker pen at the elder daughter's forehead after her husband stepped out.

When he returned, he alerted the child protection officer, who agreed to visit the home the next day.

But the woman told her older girl to tell the officer they were merely playing when a toy hit her.

The girl was taken to KKH and found to have swelling and bleeding on the left side of her forehead.

On March 8 this year, while out on bail, she assaulted the girl again. She told the investigating officer that she knew she was going to jail and wanted her daughter to behave before she went away.

The psychiatric report found that the risk of the woman using harsh physical punishment on children in future remained high.

The woman's mitigation and sentencing are scheduled for Sept 29.

For each charge of abusing her children, she can be fined up to $4,000, jailed up to four years, or both.