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Home care staff admit to abusing a resident


A person with a closed fist in front of a crouching figure. (PHOTO: Getty Images)

SINGAPORE – A worker at an adult residential care facility admitted on Tuesday (September 21) to assaulting one of its residents twice on the same day.

The 29-year-old Indian national has pleaded guilty to injuring the 36-year-old man, who is considered a vulnerable victim due to his autism, mild intellectual disability and epilepsy.

The victim had been living at the Foyer since 2019 and the accused, a caregiver who had been there for more than a year, took care of him.

After the victim was assaulted, she was assessed by a psychiatrist and found that she had poor communication skills and needed help or supervision in her daily activities.

A report from the Institute of Mental Health (IMH) said he had a long history of assaulting others and property from a young age and had been admitted to the IMH 22 times for behavioral problems related to the aggression. The report also noted that his behavior had been relatively stable since he was admitted to the home and that no assault was reported during his last interview in December of last year.

The name of the victim and the facility in which he stayed cannot be disclosed due to a gag order.

Assaulted him in the eyes of the witness

On September 9 of last year, the accused and the victim were in an activity zone when the victim approached the accused and grabbed his shirt collar.

Upon contact, the accused threw the victim to the ground and immobilized her, holding her hands. He also placed his knee on the victim’s stomach.

The accused then stood up and walked on the victim’s stomach once, while the latter was lying on the ground. He then held the victim’s hands and dragged her to the center of the room. Over the next 20 seconds, the accused kicked the victim five times on the outside of his right thigh before the victim stood up.

The two men then spoke for a while, as the accused stood in front of the victim who was seated. The victim then stood up and removed his pants and underwear. When the accused saw excrement in the victim’s underwear, he took him to the toilet to clean himself.

The violence against the victim was captured by CCTV cameras. The camera also captured a female caregiver walking towards the room and the victim waving to her. However, the accused was later seen raising a finger at his colleague, who left.

Another member of the medical staff witnessed the incident and saw the victim pointing fingers at her, as if asking for help, but the accused told her not to get involved. The witness then walked away and did not think about reporting the case as she feared she would be in trouble.

Later that day, the two men were in another room with other residents when the victim again approached the accused and touched his shirt collar. After about 13 seconds, the victim withdrew his hands.

After a brief exchange, the victim sat down on the ground and reached out to the accused, who grabbed the victim’s hand and dragged him to the ground. He kicked the victim twice, asking him to stand up.

A female health worker witnessed this incident and told the accused to stop, but he claimed he could handle the case and asked him to leave. She stayed and the accused stopped his attack. She did not report the matter.

The victim’s mother discovered an injury

Three days later, the victim returned home on home leave and his mother discovered a large bruise on the back of her son’s right thigh. She contacted the nursing staff at the home and then wrote an email to the general manager (CEO) of the facility.

The CEO later discovered the violation through CCTV and profusely apologized to the man’s mother. She accepted the apology and let the CEO take the necessary action against the accused, the prosecution said.

The CEO filed a police report on September 20.

During investigations, the CEO said residents with autism would cling to another person’s shirt due to anxiety, which could lead to assault if not treated appropriately. However, he added that caregivers had been trained to disengage residents without using disproportionate force.

According to the accused, the victim sometimes grabbed the collar of his shirt to pull him to the ground.

The victim was examined by a doctor and diagnosed with a bruise without fracture or dislocation.

The accused will return to court on October 28 for his conviction.

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