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Maid caught hitting and ill-treating toddler by child’s dad, jailed for 10 months

SINGAPORE — Hired to do household chores and care for two girls, including feeding a toddler at night, a domestic worker from Indonesia ended up abusing the younger child when no one was looking. 

Maid caught hitting and ill-treating toddler by child’s dad, jailed for 10 months
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SINGAPORE — Hired to do household chores and care for two girls, including feeding a toddler at night, a domestic worker from Indonesia ended up abusing the younger child when no one was looking. 

The toddler’s father later uncovered her misdeeds through a surveillance camera set up at home.

Sri Eha Santika Sari, 29, admitted to ill-treating the toddler on at least five occasions and was jailed for 10 months on one charge of voluntarily causing hurt. 

Another charge related to endangering life or the personal safety of others through a rash act was taken into consideration for sentencing.

Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Sruthi Boppana told the court that Sri Eha was hired in December 2020 to look after two girls, then aged five years and 22 months, as well as to do household chores.

She was also responsible for the younger child's night-time routine, including feeding her and putting her to sleep.

DPP Sruthi said that the employers had installed a surveillance camera within the child’s room and the toddler’s father was viewing the live feed from the camera through his phone on Aug 28 last year.

That was when he witnessed Sri Eha handling his daughter roughly.

A clip of the incident, which was played in court, showed Sri Eha grabbing the girl by her arm and thigh and swinging her forcefully onto the mattress.

On seeing this, the father confronted Sri Eha about her behaviour, but she denied any wrongdoing, DPP Sruthi said.

This led the man to retrieve and review all the surveillance footage available, and he uncovered other instances in which the domestic worker had treated his daughter roughly.

These clips were similarly played in court, and it showed the woman at various times flicking the girl’s ear, slapping her face, pulling her hair, and pushing her forcefully onto the mattress, among other acts.

Based on the footage available, these acts were inflicted on the child at night in the victim’s bedroom from Aug 17 to 28 last year. The time stamp seen on the videos were generally past 8pm. 

Police assistance was only sought on Sept 26 last year, the prosecution said, though no explanation was given for the almost month-long gap from when the domestic worker's offences were uncovered.

Although Sri Eha continued to reside with her employers, she was not allowed to care for the toddler after the incident, DPP Sruthi said. The prosecution proposed a jail term of eight to 10 months.

In pleading for a lighter sentence, Sri Eha, who was not represented by a lawyer, said through a translator that if she stops work, she will not be able to earn money for her child to go to school back in Indonesia.

In delivering her sentence, District Judge Kamala Ponnampalam noted the medical examinations done for the child and it was found that the girl had no injuries.

However, the offence was a serious one because it involved a “very young child” who had been entrusted into Sri Eha’s care, she said.

It was fortuitous that the abuse was uncovered by the father, or it might have gone on longer, she added.

Anyone found guilty of voluntarily causing hurt can be punished with a jail term of up to a year or fined up to S$1,000, or both. 

Related topics

court crime domestic worker maid child abuse assault toddler

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