SINGAPORE — A 38-year-old mother of three who abused her two daughters was on Wednesday (29 September) jailed for three years.
The elder daughter bore the brunt of the abuse and at one point had her front teeth broken due to a particularly brutal slap by her mother. She was between eight and 10 at the time of the abuse.
The younger daughter was just four years old at the time. The siblings have a brother who wasn't abused.
The mother had earlier this month pleaded guilty to seven out of 11 charges – all of which are for ill-treating the daughters.
She cannot be named to protect the victims' identities.
About the case
The court heard that the victims' father installed a CCTV camera in the living room around 19 December 2018 as his wife would often leave the three children alone at home.
On 18 June 2019, he came home to find the elder daughter’s front teeth broken. She told him that her mother had kicked her in the mouth. The father brought the girl to KK Women's and Children's Hospital and the hospital later made a police report.
The father then checked the CCTV recordings and found out that his wife had assaulted both daughters on other occasions.
The elder daughter said her mother began beating her when she was in kindergarten. The assault worsened in 2018 when she started primary school. The victim didn't tell anyone about the matter as she was afraid her mother would beat her more.
When confronted, the culprit said she was “disciplining her children as they were very naughty” and claimed to hit them only when necessary.
The abuse lasted from June 2019 to August this year, with CCTV footage revealing the mother's brutality towards her elder daughter. In the seven recordings earlier played in court, the perpetrator can be seen flinging the girl onto the floor, dragging her by the hair from the living room to the bedroom, and throwing a marker at her head. She is also seen slapping and kicking the girl.
In one footage, the culprit can be seen pulling the elder victim's ear in the kitchen and scolding her in a mixture of English and Malay, with the girl heard sobbing. The mother then yells, “Now get out of my face” at the girl, who scurries from the kitchen.
Following an incident on 5 July 2019, after the mother pinched the younger daughter and slapped her face, both girls were temporarily taken from the home by a Child Protection Officer on 22 August 2019. But they were later returned.
On 1 December 2019, the mother threw a marker pen at the elder daughter’s forehead after she complained about her siblings. When the mother saw the victim's head bleeding, she told the girl that she “deserved it” and asked her to “get out of the house”, prompting an apology from the victim.
The father alerted the Child Protection Officer, who said she would come by the next day. When the mother found out that the officer would come by, she told the victim to lie that a toy had hit her forehead.
In August this year, the father noticed that the mother was losing her temper at the children for no reason. He looked through CCTV footage and was shocked to see the mother abusing the daughters again, despite having been charged with child abuse and released on bail. He alerted Child Protection Services once more.
The woman told police investigators that she was discipling the older victim to behave as she was going to jail.
A psychiatric report found that the woman had no mental illness. But she also did not have insight into how her methods would affect her children’s emotional, social and cognitive development.
The report also stated that the culprit also showed resistance in adopting alternative acceptable methods to teach her children, and found that the risk of her using harsh punishment on her children remained high. As such, any future interaction between her and the children should be strictly supervised by responsible adults.
For each of her proceeded child abuse charges, the mother could have been jailed for up to four years and also fined up to $4,000.
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