Budget 2014: MPs recount horror tales of harassment victims

Budget 2014: MPs recount horror tales of harassment victims

A MALE acquaintance who stalked his victim's daughter outside her childcare centre.

A harasser who urinated outside his neighbour's flat, shouting and banging on his doors and windows for a year.

These were among the harrowing tales told on Thursday by some of the 15 MPs who rose to speak in support of the Protection from Harassment Bill.

The Bill, which Parliament passed on Thursday, gives victims access to a range of options, including protection orders, and will also provide for the harassers to get mandatory mental health treatment where necessary.

Mr Edwin Tong (Moulmein-Kallang GRC) spoke of a female resident in his ward who had been receiving up to 50 texts a day from a male acquaintance.

The stalker loitered around her workplace and home - even driving his car next to her as she walked home. One day, he sent her a message to say he had seen her "lovely daughter in school today". The stalker's intent was clearly to cause mental anguish and fear that her young daughter could be hurt, he said.

In another case related by Mr Zainal Sapari (Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC), a single father and his 15-year-old daughter feared for their safety as they were at the receiving end of a drunken neighbour's attempts to enter their home "at all hours of the day".

The neighbour would bang on their door, urinate and shout repeatedly. But when the victims called the police, the man would leave the area, leaving cops unable to act.

"Now, whenever I hear noises outside my flat, I start to have very bad panic and anxiety attacks," Mr Zainal quoted the resident as saying.

Ms Ellen Lee (Sembawang GRC) spoke of an umarried woman she had given legal aid to. The woman had been charged by her employer for harassment, but was in fact the victim. She was sexually abused by her boss, forced into becoming his mistress and eventually dismissed.

The woman sought legal redress and got justice, but was left drained and depressed, said Ms Lee.

Law Minister K. Shanmugam said the new law aims to "better reflect the seriousness of the offences... and their growing prevalence".

 


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