Sexual harassment/assault in schools

Published Date: 07 October 2019 12:00 AM

News Parliamentary Replies

Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament

Dr Intan Azura Mokhtar, Ang Mo Kio GRC

Question

To ask the Minister for Education (a) in each of the past five years, how many cases of sexual harassment/assault have happened in our mainstream schools, aggregated by the ages of the victims; and (b) what are the victim care or counselling programmes available for the victims.

Response

1. The data is only meaningful with proper classification, such as by severity or circumstances. But as each case is sensitive, it has been very hard to classify them appropriately. Notwithstanding, the number of cases over the years has been consistently very low.

2. For each case, the school principal will ensure that the victim receives timely support, with empathy and sensitivity. The school counsellor will provide counselling support to the victim. School counsellors are equipped with skills to assess the psycho-emotional state of the victims and provide the appropriate interventions or referrals required.

3. Our schools also work with parents or caregivers and other relevant agencies such as Child Protective Service (CPS), Child Protection Specialist Centres and REACH (Response, Early Intervention and Assessment in Community Mental Health) to monitor and support the victims.

4. Upstream, schools teach students about personal safety, sexual abuse and harassment. They are taught how to protect themselves both in real life and online and understand the laws that protect them in Singapore. They also learn to look out for one another and seek help from trusted adults, such as their parents, teachers and school counsellors.

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