Oral Answer by Dr Amy Khor, Senior Minister of State for Health and Manpower to Parliamentary Question on Foreign Domestic Workers and Employers Mental Health Issues
Notice Paper No. 245 Of 2015 For The Sitting On 17 Aug 2015 Question No. 748
For Oral Answer
MP: Ms Kuik Shiao-Yin
To ask the Minister for Manpower from 2010 to 2014 (a) what is the number of criminal cases of abuse of foreign domestic workers by employers that occurred because of mental health issues; (b) what is the number of criminal cases of abuse of employers by foreign domestic workers that occurred because of mental health issues; (c) how does the Ministry work with maid agencies and VWOs to educate employers and foreign domestic workers on mental health issues; and (d) whether the Ministry has considered making mandatory or voluntary mental health checks for both employer and domestic worker part of the hiring process.
1. The police do not track the number of abuse cases caused by mental illness by either the FDWs or employers.
2. MOM’s mandatory education programmes and guidebooks for both new FDWs and new employers cover issues like mental well-being as well as stress management. This is an example of the guidebook in English and as well as in the other languages that are familiar to the FDWs. FDWs are also educated on avenues they can seek help from if they face any issues, including MOM’s dedicated FDW hotline number as well as contacts of other Voluntary Welfare Organisations like the Foreign Domestic Workers Association (FAST). Employers are also taught how to identify early signs of depression in their FDWs and how they can seek help.
3. Mental health checks for FDWs are available at hospitals, the Institute of Mental Health and private specialist clinics for employers who wish to make use of such services. However, such tests are not mandatory as they are time-consuming, costly and not always fool-proof.