Threatening, controlling behaviour towards maids among main types of emotional abuse: Home report

1 week ago 28

SINGAPORE - Three prominent forms of emotional abuse towards domestic workers, including threatening or controlling behaviour, were identified in a research report released by Humanitarian Organisation for Migration Economics (Home) on Wednesday (June 22).

Advocating for a rights-based approach to stemming and preventing such abuse, the non-governmental organisation recommended measures it believes would reduce the prevalence of emotional abuse, such as training employers on interpersonal skills and allowing domestic workers to live out.

Ms Jaya Anil Kumar, senior research and advocacy manager at Home, said at a press conference on Wednesday that Home wanted to showcase the prevalence of emotional abuse, as domestic worker abuse is often talked of in terms of physical abuse or that of their rights as workers.

"We wanted to highlight that emotional abuse is also something to be taken seriously because of the very harmful effects that it has on domestic workers," said Ms Kumar.

A total of 22 domestic workers who lived at Home's shelter between July and September 2019 were interviewed for the report. Home also collected the casework data of over 1,800 domestic workers who had sought help from it between 2019 and last year.

The report found that the three prominent forms of emotional abuse documented among domestic workers were terrorising behaviour, control and degradation.

Split into two subcategories, terrorising behaviour includes threats and intimation, as well as insults.

One domestic worker recounted to Home that her employer told her: "I can do anything to you because you are the maid. I can pay the money. I can do anything to you."

Her employer also threatened to send her to jail on more than one occasion if she reported the threats.

Details on when the abuse occurred were not released.

In a separate case detailing control as a form of emotional abuse, a domestic worker was not given any days off and not allowed to make friends or talk to anyone outside the household.

Her employer also installed a closed-circuit television at the door of her room and forbade her to close it.

Another domestic worker told Home that she was made to massage her employer's feet every night while the latter sat on the toilet bowl.

Categorising the incident as degradation, Home said in its report that such tasks were unnecessary and demanded by the employer ...

Read Entire Article