This article contains depictions of abuse that may be distressing to readers. Readers’ discretion is advised.
A 31-year-old woman on Monday (28 September) plead guilty to six charges of voluntarily causing hurt to her domestic helper, with another nine charges taken into consideration.
CNA reported that Nuur Audadi Yusoff and her family hired a 24-year-old Indonesian national as a domestic worker from 1 December 2017 to 1 May 2018. The victim was paid S$580 a month.
The court heard that the abuse began about a month after the victim started working for Nuur Audadi.
Nuur Audadi was revealed to have abused her helper multiple times over several months by locking her in the flat, slapping her until her face bled, spitting at her, dragging her by her hair, and confiscating her mobile phone.
One of the incidents took place in January 2018 when Nuur Audadi was woken up by her daughter’s crying at night. It was said that she realised that her helper had forgotten to apply baby ointment.
She proceeded to question the victim why she did not do so, before spitting at her and slapping her face twice.
Weeks after this incident, the accused was reported to have swung a glass cup cover at the victim for not preparing breakfast. The victim was then dragged by the hair into the bathroom for not showering the children, and she was also dragged by the hair for singing to the children.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Chong Kee En mentioned that the domestic helper cried and pleaded for transfer due to the abuse she encountered.
Although Nuur Audadi went on to promise that she would stop hitting her helper, the abuse resumed on 21 April 2018. It was prompted when she discovered that her helper possessed a mobile phone, therefore she scrolled through her chats and photos.
Upon finding out that her helper uploaded photos of her children on Facebook, Nuur Audadi was upset and slapped her helper’s face with the mobile phone. The helper’s face went red and began bleeding. The mobile phone was confiscated.
The following week, Nuur Audadi would slap the victim and pull her hair on a nearly daily basis.
When the victim told Nuur Audadi that she had requested her agent for a transfer, the employer slapped her face and told her that she “paid a lot of money to hire her”.
The victim attempted to retrieve her mobile phone from the employer. Nuur Audadi, however, found out that the victim had attempted to do so.
That night, the victim was forced to sleep in the living room. Nuur Audadi then locked the victim’s bedroom door and the flat’s main door to prevent the victim from fleeing.
The abuse continued, with the employer demeaning the victim by asking her if she “was a prostitute” and was flirting with her husband.
On another occasion, Nuur Audadi hit the victim with a broom multiple times and scolded her for “being a prostitute”.
This incident prompted the victim to escape the locked flat from the balcony.
On 1 May 2018 at 2 am, she climbed into her room from the balcony to collect her belongings and threw her clothes out of the flat. It took her all early morning to climb down 15 storeys of the building via the balconies of each floor.
‘Vicious abuse’: DPP
Branding the victim’s case one of “vicious abuse”, DPP Chong sought an upwards of 10 months’ jail term against Nuur Audadi.
Mr Chong revealed that the accused only pleaded guilty a week away from trial.
Nuur Audadi will return to court in November for sentencing.
She can be jailed for up to two years, fined up to S$5,000 or both, for each charge of voluntarily causing hurt towards the victim.
It was reported that the penalties may be increased up to one-and-a-half times the maximum punishment, as the offences were committed against a domestic helper.
Under Section 73(1) of Singapore’s Penal Code, an employer, a household member of the employer, or the employment agent of a domestic worker found guilty of an offence under the Code may be subject to “twice the maximum punishment” the court could mete out for the particular offence.
CNA earlier reported that Nuur Audadi was described in court documents as a former Ministry of Manpower (MOM) customer service officer.
However, the report was later updated to include the Attorney-General’s Chambers’ clarification that the accused was a Singtel employee deployed to support the MOM contact centre.