MHA: One-stop abuse forensic examination centre for sexual crime victims

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The Police Cantonment Complex is now equipped with a new center for forensic and medical examinations to allow sexual crime victims undergo the process in a private facility, instead of being taken to a public hospital.

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) announced this initiative, as a result of a review of investigation and court procedures handling sexual crimes.

This initiative is called the pilot One-Stop Abuse Forensic Examination Center (OneSafe) to serve adult rape victims and the police have set this up together with the Singapore General Hospital.

The center is already in operation since Jan 15 at the Police Cantonment Complex, it will handle the cases reported within 72 hours of assault if the victims do not require other medical attention, the police said. It added that the police will assign a female officer to interview the women victims where possible.

Each year, the police averagely received 150 rape cases and between 1,200 to 1,300 cases of outrage of modesty, but most cases are reported after 72 hours of the alleged offense.

“Having a centralised facility helps avoid putting victims through multiple examinations,” Minister for Home Affairs and Law K Shanmugam said during the media briefing.

The present measures to support sexual crime victims include the multiple reporting channels, including hospitals, schools and social service organisations.

MHA said, to sensitise officers to victims' experiences, police will also develop a training video with the Association of Women for Action and Research (AWARE), based on feedback of its sexual assault care center clients. This is expected to be ready by the third quarter of this year, it added.

Recently online posts shared widely an officer's ‘inappropriate comments’ when responding to an alleged sexual offence complaint and the police said they were looking into it.

The new standard will also extend to court processes, the Ministry of Law (MinLaw) will strengthen laws and court processes to reduce stress on victims as well. This could include adding restrictions on cross-examination in court, and introducing new ways to protect privacy of the victims.

The police and MinLaw are also working on information care and support measures, as well as legal procedures which will include pamphlet for victims. They are also studying multi-disciplinary interviewing models for child abuse cases within the family, MHA said.