Speech by President Halimah Yacob at the Casa Raudha Women Home 10th Anniversary Charity Dinner
Associate Professor Dr Muhd Faishal Ibrahim
Senior Parliamentary Secretary,
Ministry of Social and Family Development & Ministry of Education
Mr Hamzah Abdul Mutalib
President, Casa Raudha Women Home
Members of the Management Committee of Casa Raudha Women Home
Ladies and gentlemen
I am happy to be here this evening to celebrate Casa Raudha’s 10th Anniversary. This is a significant milestone for the Founding Members and Management Committee of Casa Raudha, and I am glad that Casa Raudha is commemorating the occasion with a Charity Dinner tonight.
Casa Raudha has made tremendous progress in these 10 years. From a small office when it first started, Casa Raudha’s shelter now has the capacity to provide a safe haven to 50 women and children at any one time.
Domestic violence has multiple repercussions on a family. For any individual, any occurrence of abuse or violence immediately robs the victim of any sense of security. In extreme cases, these victims are rendered homeless and have to seek refuge elsewhere. For children, witnessing or being victims affect them not just physically, but also emotionally. This could lead to severe repercussions and may have a long-term impact on the children as they enter adulthood.
In Singapore, the Family Justice Courts received an average of 3,000 applications for Personal Protection Orders or PPOs against an abusive family member between 2012 and 2016. About 75 per cent of the applicants are women. While the numbers are fairly stable throughout the years, more can be done to bring the numbers down. Our Family Services Centres (FSCs) also report an average of 1,400 cases a year where family violence is one of the presenting problems.
While Casa Raudha Women Home services the needs of a unique group of victims requiring safe refuge, it exists within a larger National Family Violence Networking System, comprising the Singapore Police Force, Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF), and community partners who ensure that victims have multiple access points for victims to obtain help. More than 20 years after the formation of the system, victims of violence now have access to hotline services and social service agencies specialising in family violence work, such as the Family Violence Specialist Centres. Since 2016, the working system, and MSF have also worked to shift the focus to individuals and agencies that can do more to disrupt occurrences of abuse, and to get victims to help earlier. To that end, an ongoing “Break the Silence Against Family Violence” campaign is ongoing to equip bystanders with resources and skills to safely step in to help victims, as family violence ought never to be treated as a private matter.
Singapore, as a society, must adopt a holistic approach to address domestic violence. I am glad that Casa Raudha is adopting the approach of providing immediate protection and rebuilding the lives of victims. It will also embark on education efforts to reach out and prevent future occurrences of domestic violence. I am also heartened by Casa Raudha’s focus on helping their clients rebuild their lives by equipping them with skills and helping them regain their self-confidence.
Any form of abuse should not to be tolerated by our society. We must work together to eradicate this problem. Organisations like Casa Raudha can play their part to prevent domestic violence and assist victims. For individuals, we can keep a lookout for our family members, friends and neighbours, and offering them advice and a listening ear.
Congratulations once again to Casa Raudha on your 10th anniversary. I wish you all the best in your work to help women and children under your care to thrive and blossom, so that they can find the strength to build a better future for themselves and their families. I also want to thank all partners of Casa Raudha, many of whom are here this evening, for supporting this meaningful community effort.