A 24-year-old foreign domestic worker has been sentenced to eight months’ jail after she was caught abusing her employer’s son in a video that went viral on social media.
In the video, which was first published by Facebook group “Childcare in Singapore” on 12 March, the domestic helper can be seen swinging the five-year-old toddler and dropping him on the ground, at a field near Block 673C Edgefield Plains in Punggol.
The boy’s mother, 35-year-old Lisa, later told the Chinese daily that her son had complained that he was thrown to the ground by the helper as he shared that he suffered injuries to his front and back.
When the parents confronted the helper, she denied the abuse and claimed that the boy injured himself as he rolled around on the field. Lisa said that she felt that something was amiss but did not question the helper further.
One month later, on 13 Apr, the boy’s father stumbled upon the viral video on social media. Recognising their son and their helper, the boy’s shocked parents promptly reported the matter to the police.
Lisa, who hired the helper in 2018 after being diagnosed with congestive heart failure, added that she was especially shocked since she always treated the helper as a sister over the five-month period that they had employed the helper.
Revealing that she “immediately contacted the video uploader to find the person who shot the footage” and was able to “verify the time and location of the incident and confirm that it’s my son,” Lisa added that the helper continued to deny the abuse when the police confronted her and only came clean after she saw the video.
Lisa recounted: “I asked her why she did it. But she neither explained nor apologised for her actions. After that, the police handcuffed her and took her away.”
The abuse has had a lasting impact on Lisa’s household. Terrified that another helper she might hire could abuse her children in the future, Lisa has quit her job to care for her children herself as her husband now works two jobs to provide for their family.
The court heard that the helper had been working for the boy’s family since November last year and was required to take care of the boy besides completing household chores.
On the day of the incident, the boy took a ball and left to play at the field in front of Block 673C Edgefield Plains. The helper went after him and picked him up before abusing him.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Ang Siok Chen recounted: “The victim struggled and the accused retaliated by smacking the victim’s buttocks so that he would not struggle and fall off. The victim continued to struggle and the accused got frustrated.
“She then deliberately threw the victim onto the ground and carried (him) up again. As the victim continued to struggle, the accused purposely threw him down to the ground again.”
The helper then carried the child back home. For abusing the child, the helper could have been jailed for up to four years and fined up to S$4,000.