The 24-year-old Indonesian maid who was arrested earlier this year for throwing a 5-year-old boy to the ground was just sentenced to eight months’ jail after pleading guilty to ill-treating a child.
A video of the act had been circulating online showing a woman struggling to carry a child and then apparently throwing him on the ground when he wouldn’t stay still.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Ang Siok Chen said that the maid started working with the boy’s family last year in November. Her duties included household chores and taking care of the child.
According to the DPP, the boy had left his home with a ball to go play in a field in front of Block 673C Edgefield Plains at 9am on 12 March.
He described how the boy struggled with the maid who then retaliated by smacking his buttocks so he would not struggle and fall from his arms. The victim, as seen in the video, continued to squirm.
DPP Ang said the maid became frustrated and proceeded to “deliberately” throw the boy onto the ground before carrying him up again. When he continued to struggle, the main threw him on the ground once more. After that, she carried him home.
DPP Ang explained that the boy later complained to his mother about the incident and said he felt pain on his chest.
The maid reportedly denied to the mother that she had ill-treating the boy, saying that he rolled on the ground on his own. The mother didn’t pursue the matter until she saw the video on Facebook a couple of days later, recognising her child and the maid.
The video was originally uploaded to the ‘Childcare in Singapore’ Facebook group on 12 March, showing a woman swinging and dropping a child onto the ground.
The 34-year old mother lodged a police report after that and took her son to the hospital. Doctors found mild tenderness over his spine.
After the maid was detained by the police, the mother told the media that she decided to quit her job following the incident to take care of her children. She expressed that she was afraid to hire another domestic helper on the basis that they might be abused again.
Netizen reactions to the story of the maid being sentenced were mostly on the side of the family. Commenters on the Straits Times Facebook post which shared the story had many pointing out that maids and foreign domestic workers are “well protected” by the Ministry of Manpower and rights groups, implying that this leads to them being “bolder”.
One person urged for MOM to apply stricter rules on foreign domestic workers
While another pointed out that this incident shows that even employers can be victims of abuse
However, amidst the anger there was also one commenter who is a foreign domestic worker herself. She pleaded that not all maids or helpers are like this one woman and that it ‘sometimes depends on the employer and maid also’.