SINGAPORE, July 2 — A 41-year-old domestic worker was jailed for 13 months yesterday (July 1) for the repeated physical abuse of a two-year-old toddler under her care.
The former domestic worker, who cannot be named due to a gag order protecting the boy’s identity, had kicked him twice in his abdomen when he was lying on the floor, and on another occasion kicked his forehead when he was seated on the floor.
She had also hit his lips more than once with the back of a metal spoon.
The worker, who is from the Philippines, pleaded guilty on Thursday to two charges under the Children and Young Persons Act. One other charge was taken into consideration during sentencing.
The court heard that the physical abuse was witnessed by a domestic worker of a family who had moved into a neighbouring unit on April 7 last year.
The worker had observed the accused slapping, kicking and pinching both the victim and his younger brother, who was aged one at the time, whenever she was unhappy with them. The assaults would start once her employers went out to work.
The witness had also observed her pulling the hair of the older child and using a spoon to hit his mouth while feeding him.
This other domestic worker then resolved to record the assaults on video so that she could send the footage to the child’s mother to alert her of the abuse.
The incident where the child was kicked in the abdomen took place on May 11 last year. It was the first video captured by the witness.
Five days later, the witness filmed the metal spoon incident, which happened when the accused was trying to feed the boy some porridge.
When the boy did not open his mouth for a second spoonful and coughed, she used the spoon to hit his mouth, causing him to cry.
When she managed to feed him a second mouthful, some of the porridge dripped out of his mouth, and she hit the toddler’s lips again.
She hit him again when the boy coughed and spat out some porridge after being hit.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Sheryl Yeo told the court that the witness had informed the accused on at least one previous occasion to slow down when feeding the boy as he still had food in his mouth and could not swallow in time.
She videoed another kicking incident on May 20 that year.
In that incident, the accused was singing to a song she played on her mobile phone, while her employer’s children were playing on the floor in the living room.
The younger child started to cry when the two-year-old took a toy away from him, so the domestic worker pinched the elder child’s ear and made him cry as well.
As the boy sat on the floor and looked up at her as he cried, she kicked him on the forehead.
The witness told the boys’ mother of the worker’s behaviour on June 5, and the mother lodged a police report two days later.
When examined by a medical officer at the KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital on June 8 last year, the then-two-year-old child was found with multiple injuries, including a 5cm scratch mark on his forearm, and bruises on the upper back.
For ill-treating the child, the domestic worker could have been jailed for up to eight years or fined up to S$8,000, or both. ― TODAY