Let’s Get Real About Family Violence

Singapore , 08 Dec 2016

Through the influence and reach of football, SportCares had an important conversation today about family violence to a group of girls and young women.

In partnership with the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) and the U.S. Embassy Singapore, SportCares hosted a one-day football camp themed “Play Like a Girl, Break The Silence | Against Family Violence” for some 130 low-income girls and young women from various community groups.

Donning orange jerseys in a show of solidarity with the United Nations #OrangeTheWorld initiative, the girls and young women participated in a series of football activities and games led by Chris Yip-Au, SportCares Saturday Night Lights coach and national women’s football player. They also participated in a sharing session on cultivating self-confidence and self-respect involving AWARE and Team Singapore athletes, Dipna Lim Prasad and Micky Lin.

Present at the football camp to lend their support to this significant event were Mr. Baey Yam Keng, Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth and Ms. Stephanie Syptak-Ramnath, Deputy Chief of Mission, U.S. Embassy Singapore who both shared words of encouragement with the attendees.

Said Mr. Baey, “Sport has the power to improve lives and make a difference in our communities. Through this SportCares camp, we are helping the girls develop confidence, resilience, and camaraderie with one another. These attributes will go a long way in giving them strength to manage and overcome adversities in life.”

As Ms. Syptak-Ramnath said “Gender violence doesn’t take place in a vacuum. It’s often an extension of existing gender barriers and stereotypes that confine men and women to pre-determined roles and harmful relationships. That’s why programs like SportCares are so important in changing this paradigm as they teach girls the skills and inner strength to succeed on and off the playing field, and at the same time they remind boys and girls alike that teamwork and mutual respect knows no gender. That’s an important first step in building strong communities for the future, with empowered and informed citizens who can stand up together against family violence, wherever it occurs. U.S. Embassy Singapore is proud to join our partners in shining a spotlight on this important issue.

MSF’s collaboration with SportCares on the football camp is an important outlet for their campaign Break The Silence | Against Family Violence to reach the wider community. “When girls feel afraid of their partners, they often share their fears with close friends and family members first. Our collaboration with partners like SportCares can drive the message that those close to the victims, and even bystanders like neighbours, have an important role to play in preventing family violence. Simple acts like keeping a closer look-out for early warning signs or sharing the helpline numbers can help save lives. We hope more will realise that family violence is not a private matter, and that we can all help to prevent, detect and report abuse,” said Ms. Jasmin Lopez, Senior Assistant Director, Rehabilitation and Protection Group of MSF.

National track star Dipna Lim Prasad hopes her journey as a sportswoman can inspire the girls to have a voice and speak out against family violence. “I want the girls to know that like me, each of them is strong enough, skilful enough and capable enough and that they are worthy of the accolades they deserve. I hope whatever I’ve shared earlier can help instill worth in the girls because if someone doesn’t feel worthy, they might be subjected to something that they don’t deserve, just because they don’t have the courage or strength to say otherwise.”

Ong Shixuen, 10-year-old camp participant shared, “I had a lot of fun and made many new friends at the camp. What surprised me was that I learnt so much from the sharing session on family violence. I should not be afraid of speaking out if my friends or I are facing any form of violence. The violence does not define me as a person, and it should not stop me from striving to become better.”


About SportCares
SportCares Foundation is the philanthropic arm of Sport Singapore (SportSG) and was officially established in October 2012 as a key recommendation of SportSG’s Vision 2030: Live Better Through Sport master plan. SportCares is at the heart of a growing national movement to use sport for social good. With support from partners in the community and corporate sectors, SportCares has organised programmes and projects that have touched the lives of more than 8,000 underprivileged children and youth. While each programme has its unique characteristics, SportCares’ mission has never varied: to empower people in need, by providing opportunities for social inclusion and community bridging through sport.

About Break The Silence | Against Family Violence Campaign
MSF has launched a three-year campaign, called “Break the Silence – Against Family Violence.” This targets all persons who witness or know about accounts of family violence. More details on the campaign can be found in Annex A.

About U.S. Embassy Singapore
The U.S. Embassy Singapore consists of 19 U.S. Federal Government agencies working in Singapore and the region. Through the U.S. Embassy, the United States maintains a strong bilateral relationship with the Government of Singapore and stands ready to assist the more than 30,000 American citizens in Singapore, many of whom work for American businesses with offices in this country. Additional information about the U.S. Embassy Singapore can be found at http://singapore.usembassy.gov.

Annex A

• On 16 Nov 2016, Minister for Social and Family Development Mr Tan Chuan-Jin launched a three-year “Break the Silence” campaign with a focus on the bystanders of family violence. These bystanders are people (who may be friends, family, neighbours, co-workers or even strangers) who witness family violence, or know about it (e.g. heard from a third party) but may not know how to respond to this situation.

• MSF wants to bring home the message that family violence is not a private matter. To this end, MSF has:
a. Launched “First Steps” video on social media platforms (MSF Youtube and MSF Facebook)

b. Started hashtag #breakthesilenceSG to encourage crowd-sourced social media sharings of how everyday Singaporeans stepped in to detect, prevent, interrupt and report suspected family violence incidences in their midst, e.g. 

  • Interrupt such incidents with little acts of kindness
  • Show concern and support for parents who are stressed out with parenting issuesOffer respite to caregivers of elderly, disabled or young children (e.g. by offering to watch their charges for a while) so as to better manage stressful periods.
c. Continued to rove community roadshows to educate the public about what family violence is, its signs and symptoms, where to seek help, and what anyone can do to care for or raise the alarm to professionals for those whom they know to be (or suspect may be) in family violence situations. 

d. Continued to rove “Breaking my silence” - a roving family-violence themed art exhibition. This exhibition comprises artwork by survivors of family violence, who reside in a crisis shelter. The art work is very telling of their pain, fear, isolation, sadness, struggles, courage, hopes and dreams. After touring the art exhibition, viewers can place a sticker on a pledge board, as their personal pledge that they will proactively act if they witness family violence happening in their midst.

• MSF also wants to equip bystanders with resources on how to safely step in, to help those who may be affected by family violence:

a. MSF has rolled out a new suite of collaterals targeting potential bystanders of family violence, so that bystanders are equipped to become active agents of change in stopping family violence.

b. MSF also continues to engage multiple touchpoints (e.g. grassroots organisations, self-help groups, religious organisations, educational institutions, voluntary welfare organisations, corporate organisations) to step in and offer help in family violence situations as well as creatively raise awareness against family violence by using the ‘break the silence’ tagline. These touchpoints can:

  • Tap on the A.C.T family violence awareness training sessions to reach out to their members and equip them on family violence – This 3-hour customizable session aims to equip everyday Singaporeans – community leaders, volunteers from religious organisations or self-help groups- with knowledge of the signs and symptoms of family violence and also available help channels, so that they can be the eyes and ears to help spot affected suspected families and individuals. This uses a simple 3-step mantra with the acronym A.C.T – A: Acknowledge the abuse; C: Comfort someone in need; and T: Tell someone how and where to seek help.
  • Bystanders can help raise the alert to a professional for help. They can call or walk in to their nearest Family Service Centre, Family Violence Specialist Centre or Child Protection Specialist Centre, to alert a professional about suspected abuse.

It is time to break the silence on family violence. Everyone can play their part to prevent, detect and report abuse.

Help sources:

  • If you are, or someone you know is experiencing family violence, you can contact/access:
    • Family Violence Specialist Centres
      • PAVE: 6555 0390
      • TRANS SAFE Centre: 6449 9088
      • Care Corner Project StART: 6476 1482
    • Child Protection Specialist Centres
      • Big Love: 6445 0400
      • HEART@Fei Yue: 6819 9170
    • ComCare Call at 1800 222 0000
    • http://www.stopfamilyviolence.sg

• However, in the event that a life is in danger, call the Police immediately.

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