By Gloria James-Civetta

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Punishment Guidelines for Maid Abuse

2 min read
Reported in The Straits Times, 3 March 2018

Abused foreign domestic helpers are once again thrust into the spotlight. This time, justice is being served for them. The Supreme Court had, on 2 March 2018, laid out a new sentencing framework for perpetrators of maid abuse.
This comes after Chief Justice Sundresh Menon signaled a need to review such sentencing benchmarks upwards, for the obvious purpose of deterring future offenders.
Abuser Flowchart
Once the Court assesses seriousness, next up is PUNISHMENT:

Less Serious Physical Harm More Serious Physical Harm
Less Serious Psychological Harm 3-6 months 6-18 months
More Serious Psychological Harm 6-18 months 20-30 months

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It was noted that the Court should adjust each sentence when considering aggravating factors (e.g. use of a weapon; repeated abuse) as well as mitigating factors (e.g. abuser’s remorse). Finally, the Court decides which sentences will run consecutively, bearing in mind the duration and frequency of abuse.

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