Po­lice, MSF prob­ing al­leged abuse of young girl in carpark

The New Paper - - FRONT PAGE - CHEOW SUE-ANN

Video shows her head snap­ping back af­ter man slaps her face as she kneels in carpark of Ikea Tampines

A video of a young girl, who is made to kneel in pub­lic be­fore a man slaps her hard on the face, has sparked out­rage.

So much so that the al­leged abuse has been re­ported to both the po­lice and the Min­istry of So­cial and Fam­ily De­vel­op­ment (MSF), which are now in­ves­ti­gat­ing the in­ci­dent.

In the video, taken at about 9pm on Mon­day, the girl, who looks to be of pri­mary school age, is seen kneel­ing next to a white car in the carpark of Ikea Tampines.

A man, be­lieved to be her father and stand­ing be­side a woman, points his fin­ger at the girl, then swings back his arm and slaps her face.

The force of the im­pact makes her head snap back and she al­most loses her bal­ance.

A passer-by who was film­ing the in­ci­dent from some dis­tance away said he could hear the slap.

As the man walks away, the girl re­mains kneel­ing. He then turns back and be­rates her as the video ends.

The passer-by, who sent his video to cit­i­zen jour­nal­ism por­tal Stomp, said: “I do not know what the man was up­set about, but he was say­ing things like, ‘I love you, but you can­not say these kind of things to me’ and ‘It’s no longer your mum’s place, it is my place’.

“I’m not sure if the woman in the video is the mother, but she seemed too scared to hold him off or do any­thing.”

The Stom­per, who wanted to re­main anony­mous, added: “I stopped record­ing the video af­ter I sus­pected that the man had no­ticed me.

“The man walked away af­ter notic­ing that more peo­ple had started to gather.

“He shouldn’t em­bar­rass his daugh­ter in pub­lic places like this and scare other fam­i­lies with young chil­dren..”

PO­LICE RE­PORT

The video has been viewed more than 30,000 times on Stomp as of yes­ter­day evening. Ikea con­firmed yes­ter­day that the in­ci­dent oc­curred on its premises and that it has made a po­lice re­port.

An Ikea spokesman told The New Pa­per: “From the im­ages in the video, we can ver­ify that it’s an Ikea carpark.

“This in­ci­dent has been re­ported to the po­lice and we will ren­der any as­sis­tance they need in their in­ves­ti­ga­tion.”

A ne­ti­zen who watched the video was con­cerned enough to re­port the in­ci­dent to MSF.

Iden­ti­fy­ing him­self as Richard on Stomp’s Face­book page, he wrote: “I have re­ported this to MSF for their in­ves­ti­ga­tion.”

He sought in­for­ma­tion on the man and his car so that he could for­ward to MSF and asked the Stom­per to send his un­cen­sored video with de­tails to MSF.

“If this man can be­have this way in pub­lic, there is no telling what he has done in pri­vate,” he added.

An MSF spokesman told TNP last night that the min­istry and po­lice are look­ing into the mat­ter.

MSF fig­ures show that it in­ves­ti­gated 894 cases of child abuse last year, of which 373 were for phys­i­cal abuse.

Crim­i­nal lawyer Ravin­der­pal Singh told TNP the slap could be con­sid­ered as child abuse.

And if the girl is deemed to be in dan­ger, MSF’s Child Pro­tec­tive Ser­vice could step in, es­pe­cially if the par­ties can be iden­ti­fied.

Child psy­chol­o­gist Evonne Lek said if the abuse is re­peated, such be­hav­iour can be deemed phys­i­cal and emo­tional abuse, which could have a last­ing im­pact on the child.

Ms Lek was con­cerned the girl re­mained still dur­ing the in­ci­dent as it could mean that “this had hap­pened be­fore and she is used to it”.

Re­fer­ring to on­line com­ments that this might have been a case of a par­ent just dis­ci­plin­ing his child, Psy­chol­o­gist Dr Carol Bal­hetchet said that re­gard­less, there is no ex­cuse for such be­hav­iour.

“If it had been a grown man or woman kneel­ing in pub­lic and get­ting slapped, it would not be ac­cept­able. So, why is it so with a child? It’s dou­ble stan­dards.”

She agreed that such be­hav­iour is abu­sive and it was un­nat­u­ral for the child to not re­act.

Not­ing that par­ents must learn to man­age their anger, Dr Bal­hetchet said: “No mat­ter what the child did, it is the par­ent’s re­spon­si­bil­ity to demon­strate re­spect for the child if they want to be re­spected.”

sueannc@sph.com.sg

PHO­TOS: STOMP

In the video, the man is seen point­ing his fin­ger at the girl’s face, then slap­ping her so hard that she al­most loses her bal­ance.

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