My Newsradio Scripts

These are my old radio news scripts on Singapore's current affairs when I worked as a broadcast journalist.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

In Your Neighbourhood #11 - PAVE

Broadcasted on 17/1/02

No, you are not alone or unique in your sufferings.

Hi, welcome to In Your Neighbourhood with me Chong Ching Liang.

Who are those most alone in suffering?

Victims of domestic of family violence, whether it's a wife, a child, or in rare instances, a husband.

Ang Mo Kio Family Service centre is one of the earliest FSC.

Formed 24 years ago, it has constantly encountered and witness acts of family violence.

But only about three years ago, did it start a dedicated centre to fight against family violence.

Director of Ang Mo Kio FSC, Sudha Nair, on the reason why the Centre for Promoting Alternatives to Family Violence, or PAVE was formed.

"What really got us set up was a phone call we received from a child one morning when we came into the office. And he just said. 'Auntie, my father beat my mother' and it was a child whose voice we recognised and we went immediately to the house and found these three children together with their mother. Mother was lying on the floor."

Through that incident, Sudha Nair and her colleagues began to pursue in earnest, the setting up of a one-stop station to help victims of family violence.

With governmental support and much needed changes in legislation in the Women's Charter, institutional facilities to help victims fall swiftly into place.

"So the family court worked with us to set up a video-link system in PAVE so that people could come here and apply for protection immediately. And this is a real boon because a lot of the people who are affected can come to PAVE and apply for a protection order in a quiet environment."

What happens when a victim contact the FSC?

"The person will be passed on to the senior social worker and the senior PAVE worker would then find out what's happening and make an appointment to see the person if they can come out of the house. If they can't come out of the house, the first thing we will access is the safety of the victim, to make sure the victim is safe and give them enough information to ensure their safety. Subsequently we will invite them to the centre and discuss options with them and if they need to make an application with the PPO, they can do so."

Confidentiality is STRICTLY maintained.

The onus is to help and not to punish or subject the abuser to any forms of pillory.

"In the work with violence, we make it very clear that violence is not about marriage okay, So we do not do marital work when we do violence work. We end the violence first. So in the group that we run, it is men and women separately."

Three groups, men, women and the children.

The child witness is the most vulnerable and the effects of their experience may not surface till later.

To heal them, the truth must surface but it is difficult to extract it from them.

Sudha explains the work with these children.

"The children session is a little different. The children session we don't use chairs, we sit on the floor. We normally do it by age groups and recently we just started a young adult group which is 16 to 20. And it is very interactive especially for the younger groups, for the primary school groups. We use a lot of play. Use a lot of puppets, drawings, storytelling games, which are all centred around the issues of violence. But because it's such a painful subject, the children session is usually just one topic per session and for a shorter period. So its usually for an hour and with a lot of food, a lot of games. So the children love coming and you know, its fun."

The women's group is almost always, the victim groups.

The sessions are to let the victim know they are not alone.


"And I recall some of the group members saying that they always have this views that educated people were not abuse and this woman, housewife, telling a professional you know, I always thought that it was people like me. And that's a very strong message that violence cuts across every single socio-economic type or education level and that anybody can be a victim and just as anybody can be an abuser."

Finally, the men's groups are to fix the problem.

"The first few weeks we look at what has happened. And the next few weeks its challenging the beliefs. And the last few weeks are looking for support for the men and how do they keep themselves safe. Because you know if they carryon this behaviour, they will get into more serious trouble. So we look at that and look the costs of their behaviour on themselves, on their families, on their jobs and so on and so forth."

The sessions are chaired by 2 social workers of both sexes, to show how differences can be discussed respectively.

Often, linkages are formed.

The counseled leave with new friendships formed amongst themselves and this sometimes helped them to be strong when they old demons return.

For the social worker of PAVE, the foremost task is to stop the violence.

Only when it stops then the healing begins.

Marital sessions are only conducted after successful conclusion of the Violence sessions.

"Interestingly, a lot of the men and women have actually asked for marital sessions and its very heartwarming to see both parties recognising that they want to do something about the marriage because sometime there's this misconception that if you come to see a social worker about violence in the family, then it will inevitably end in divorce."

Happy family again.

That is the best reward for the family healers of Ang Mo Kio.

If you or someone you know would like to get in touch with PAVE, please call 64546678.

This is Chong Ching Liang for Newsradio 938.

Related Websites:
Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports
Ang Mo Kio Family Service Centre


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