MP Carrie Tan’s views on Ministry of Social and Family Development’s Committee of Supply Debate 2022
I’d first like to commend the Family Violence Taskforce on their excellent work identifying gaps and providing workable solutions to the matter at hand. I support all of the task force’s recommendations, but have a few points of consideration.
In the report, the task force recommended exploring more means to ensure stronger enforcement of counselling orders, mandatory assessment, treatment orders for perpetrators of domestic violence. Can we also explore some positive means of incentivising them? If we only implement punitive measures to increase compliance with such court orders, we might not engender sufficient trust with these perpetrators. It might damage the potential for success of any therapy or counselling, which requires high trust as a foundation. Will MSF consider researching perpetrators to understand what incentives would work in tandem with the “stick” to ensure compliance? A carrot-and-stick enforcement approach based on allyship might work better.
The task force also recommended providing shelter for perpetrators only as a last resort. I suggest that perpetrators be offered this option as a first resort instead. In many cases, victims of family violence have to flee from their homes to escape grievous violence. Perpetrators often then occupy the flat, leaving the victims essentially homeless. If perpetrators have an alternative place to stay, their victims would not be displaced for too long. The length of stay for the perpetrators can be as long or short as needed, according to the rehabilitative program, and factoring in the extent and future potential of violence against their family members as the task force recommended.