There has been a global surge in police reports of domestic violence in the most COVID stricken countries in the past few months since the pandemic began to take hold of the world.
Singapore is not spared. On May 14, 2020, the Straits Times reported a 22% increase in the number of police reports filed for offences commonly associated with family violence between April 7 and May 6. In an interview with Channel News Asia on April 11, Mr. Benny Bong, President of Society Against Family Violence (SAFV), highlighted how the lockdown creates more stresses on families that are already vulnerable, with financial pressures and job insecurities piling up, especially on breadwinners. There is also growing awareness and recognition that men can also be victims of family violence, but the taboo of not being believed, and being seen as weak prevent many men from speaking up and seeking help. While there are already many community organisations in Singapore offering assistance to women and victims of family violence, helplines and services dedicated to men are few and far between.
In response to this notable service gap, SAFV is launching a series of initiatives during the circuit breaker period targeting men.
Men’s Helplink uses two platforms—email and Facebook Messenger—as avenues to provide information to men and refer them to relevant organisations that specialise in providing direct services such as counselling and therapy to men. Men’s Helplink will be available starting May 16. SAFV will monitor the public’s response to the helpline to decide whether to extend the service beyond the circuit breaker period.
Depending on the response to Men’s Helplink, SAFV is prepared to roll out two more initiatives to support men during the lockdown. One is called Men’s Virtual Listening Circle, which allows up to four men to join an anonymous virtual platform on the Internet for mutual support and to talk about their concerns. The platform will be facilitated by the voluntary counsellors/social workers of SAFV. The other initiative in the pipeline is Men’s Group Therapy conducted via a video conferencing platform. This group therapy will target men who are committed to do something about their past behaviours and to rebuild their relationships with their significant other. The group therapy will run once a week for eight to ten weeks.
Read more: https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/coronavirus-spike-in-family-violence-reports-prompts-group-to-launch-platform-for-men-to?fbclid=IwAR3twCp3F4bKdwCntBcH_IdNjWxJOEeaJt852jAe0pjM1GVn2N5qQXQJCts