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Monday September 30, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Monday September 30, 2013 MYT 8:31:14 AM
Abusive husbands. Abusive parents. And now a new figure of violence in the home is on the rise – abusive children.
More parents have gone to court in recent years to seek protection from their abusive offspring.
The abuse ranges from physical, to harassment for money, to cheating them of their assets.
Complaints from parents include being hounded by greedy children to sell their flats and hand over the proceeds, or to transfer ownership of their flats to them, a Subordinate Courts spokesman said.
Once the children get their hands on mum and dad’s home, some try to chase their parents out for good.
Other parents have had a once-beloved child steal their money or jewellery, or harass them for money to feed their alcohol, drug or gambling addictions.
And others have been restricted about what they can do at home, such as being barred from watching television or using appliances such as air-conditioning.
In the past three years, about 240 personal protection orders a year were filed by parents against their children, comprising about 8% of all orders.
This is up from about 160 orders yearly in the three preceding years, or about 6% of all orders.
A personal protection order is a court order to restrain a person from abusing his family members, and the abuser can be fined or jailed if he breaches the order and turns violent again.
When it comes to domestic violence, abusive husbands top the list, with about half of the orders in the past three years filed by battered wives.
Eleven per cent of the orders were lodged by husbands against their wives and the rest were taken against other family members, such as children, siblings and former spouses.
Social workers attribute the rise in orders against abusive children to a greater awareness of the help available for victims of family violence, but they point out that the reported numbers are just the tip of the iceberg.
Many parents are still reluctant to report the abuse out of shame, ignorance of the help available, fear that their child will be jailed and also because they depend on them for financial and other support.
Many parents also feel that they have failed to raise their child well and their poor parenting led to the abuse, so they keep mum about the violence, social workers say.
These parents, many in their 60s to 80s, suffer in silence for years.
Often, their plight comes to light only after they end up in hospital after a beating or when they call the police to stop their child from attacking them, social workers say.
A counsellor at Kampong Kapor Family Service Centre, Linda Lim, said: “Parents apply for a personal protection order only when they have lost all hope that their child will change and they can’t take the abuse any more. Or they fear they could be beaten to death.
“Once they lodge a personal protection order, they are quite prepared that this will break the relationship. I have seen seniors who were so badly abused that they landed in hospital, yet they refused to apply for a PPO. They say they are resigned to their fate.”
Adisti Jalani, a senior social worker with Pave, a charity that specialises in tackling family violence, said most of the abusive children they counselled were either jobless or struggling with their own demons such as a drug or gambling habit.
They threaten, hit and hurl verbal abuse at their parents when they fail to get money from them. — The Straits Times / Asia News Network
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