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Former employee at a care facility jailed 9 weeks for repeatedly kicking autistic resident

SINGAPORE — At a home for adults with special needs, a staff member assaulted a resident who had autism, mild intellectual disability and epilepsy twice in a day.

For causing hurt to a vulnerable victim, a 28-year-old man was jailed for nine weeks.

For causing hurt to a vulnerable victim, a 28-year-old man was jailed for nine weeks.

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  • A man working in a home for adults with special needs assaulted a resident who has autism and mild intellectual disability
  • He threw the victim to the ground, stepped on his abdomen and kicked him many times
  • The offences came to light only when the victim’s mother found a bruise on his thigh
  • Three others who saw what the worker was doing did not report the matter


SINGAPORE — At a home for adults with special needs, a staff member assaulted a resident who had autism, mild intellectual disability and epilepsy twice in a day.

The victim suffered a large bruise on the back of his thigh stretching down from his hip, which his mother later discovered.

The worker, a 28-year-old Indian national, was jailed for nine weeks on Thursday (Oct 28) for his actions last year. He had pleaded guilty last month to two charges of voluntarily causing hurt to a vulnerable victim.

He, the victim and the home cannot be named due to a court order to protect the victim’s identity.

The victim, aged 36, has lived at the home since 2019 where he is given weekly home leave.

The staff member was previously employed here on a work permit and had worked at the home for more than a year before assaulting the victim on Sept 9 last year.


That morning, the victim approached the worker and grabbed his shirt collar, the court heard. Closed-circuit television (CCTV) footage of what happened was played in court.

The worker threw the victim to the ground, pinned him there by holding onto his hands and placed his knee on the victim’s abdomen. He then stood up and stepped on the victim’s abdomen once while the victim lay on the ground, then dragged him to the centre of the room.

He then let go of the victim’s hands and kicked the victim five times on his thigh, before the victim sat up.

They “communicated for a while” and the victim stood up, removing his pants and underwear. The worker, who had put on a pair of gloves, then took him to the toilet to clean up some faeces in his underwear.

Although a fellow employee witnessed this, she said that she walked away and did not think of reporting the matter because she did not want to get into trouble.

She also said that the victim had seen her and pointed towards her, as if to ask for help, but the man told her not to get involved.

In the CCTV footage, another staff member could also be seen walking towards the room. The victim waved at her but the accused raised a finger, prompting the staff member to turn around and leave.


Later the same day while in a room with several other residents, the victim touched the accused’s shirt collar again in an incident also filmed on CCTV.

Shortly after that, the worker moved towards the victim, grabbed his outstretched hand and dragged him down.

The worker then kicked the victim thrice while pointing at him and gesturing at him to stand up.

While this was happening, a 30-year-old woman entered the room and eventually took the victim out of the room. She had been in the adjacent room when she heard the worker shouting and saw him kicking the victim.

When she told the worker to stop, he said that he could handle the matter and asked her to go away. She stayed, however, and he stopped kicking the victim.

Three days later, the victim returned home and his mother discovered the bruise on his thigh. She contacted the home about the matter, before sending an email to its chief executive officer when she was dissatisfied with the replies.

The CEO then contacted her and told her about the CCTV footage. He also apologised profusely to her, which she accepted.

She then allowed him to take the necessary action against the accused.

During investigations, the CEO explained that autistic patients occasionally grabbed other people’s shirts due to anxiety, which could lead to aggression if not properly handled.

However, the CEO noted that staff members had been trained for such situations and to “disengage the resident without the use of (disproportionate) force”.

The worker also said that the victim sometimes grabbed his shirt collar when he wanted to pull the worker to the ground.

In a medical report from the Institute of Mental Health (IMH), a psychiatrist noted that the victim had a long-standing history of behaving aggressively towards other people and property since a young age, having been admitted to IMH on 22 separate occasions for behavioural problems.

However, the psychiatrist also said that his behaviour had been relatively stable. No aggressive behaviour was reported during his most recent interview in December last year.

The worker was represented by defence counsel SS Dhillon, who asked for four weeks’ jail.

During sentencing, District Judge John Ng told the worker: “Of course, the work done by people like you is not easy, I think it’s a very tough situation, but nevertheless the message must be very clear — in no way can we ever have such a situation being condoned.”

For causing hurt to a vulnerable adult, the worker could have been jailed for up to six years or fined up to S$10,000, or punished with both.

Related topics

court crime Autism special needs assault

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