Review of sentencing framework for hurt, sexual offences completed
It looked at whether factors such as an offender's background should affect sentencing in these cases
A review of the sentencing framework for hurt and sexual offences has been completed, and a ministerial statement on the matter will be made at a later date, said Minister of State for Social and Family Development Sun Xueling.
Announced last July, the review by the Ministries of Home Affairs and Law examined, among other things, the extent to which an offender's background, including educational status, should be a relevant factor in sentencing.
It came after public disquiet arose last year over the sentence meted to a dentistry student who tried to strangle his former girlfriend and put his thumb into her eye after she rejected him.
NO CRIMINAL RECORD
Yin Zi Qin, 23, will not have a criminal record after completing his sentence, which included a short detention order of 12 days and 80 hours of community service.
Ms Sun yesterday added that participants in the ongoing dialogue to review women's issues had raised the topic of what punishment should be meted out for sexual and hurt offences.
"We are cognisant of the fact that regardless of the progress that Singaporean women have made on many fronts, we must continue to guarantee the protection and well-being of our women and girls," she said.
She noted that the Budget builds on continuing efforts to support women and their families, by supporting women in caregiving, supporting vulnerable women, and supporting women in their career aspirations.
The Government has made efforts to expand pre-school capacity and increase access to affordable childcare, so that women have peace of mind should they decide to go back to work when they have a young child, she said.
"Budget 2021 builds on these efforts and goes further. We know that caregivers with young children with developmental needs may find it even more challenging to care for their children," she said.
In an online survey by the Inclusive Pre-school Workgroup that she co-chairs, parents and caregivers of children with developmental needs had rated travelling time between pre-schools and early intervention centres as one of their top three concerns.
The new Inclusive Support Programme pilot announced in this year's Budget aims to address this concern by providing in-school support for children who require up to medium levels of early intervention, and eliminating the back and forth shuttle, she said.
She added that the $900 million Household Support Package will also help women in need.
Other MPs also called for more support for Singaporean women in their speeches during the debate.
Ms Tin Pei Ling (MacPherson SMC) said empowering more women to pick up digital skills will help to address the pressing digital talent shortage worldwide and generate greater economic growth.
Parliamentary Secretary for Health Rahayu Mahzam noted that there has been increasing awareness about women who have spent a large part of their lives not in formal employment, but toiling to care for their families.
"Over time, there's also been conversations around the uneven distribution of the caregiving load and equal opportunities for women. Indeed, there are gaps that we need to work on. Gender bias and stereotypes and the disparity between men and women continue to exist," said Ms Rahayu.
"Women have much potential to help Singapore emerge stronger from this pandemic. I urge the whole community to have an open mind and provide unfettered opportunities for women. Do not underestimate the roles, responsibilities and contributions of women," she added.