Maid jailed 6 months for repeatedly kicking 8-year-old boy with intellectual disability

Maid jailed 6 months for repeatedly kicking 8-year-old boy with intellectual disability
TODAY file photo

SINGAPORE — Frustrated with her employer’s intellectually disabled young son, a 38-year-old foreign domestic helper kicked and pushed him seven times within a span of 10 minutes.  

Yuni Suvi Yanyi Sitepu was sentenced to six months’ jail on Wednesday (Aug 19) after pleading guilty to a single charge of ill-treating the eight-year-old boy under the Children and Young Persons Act. The boy suffers from an intellectual disability of moderate severity, global development delay, epilepsy and hypothyroidism. The Indonesian helper, who had worked for the household for more than a month, was caught in the act on the morning of May 16 last year.  

At about 10am, the boy’s mother used her mobile phone to watch live footage from the closed-circuit television installed in the living room. She saw Yuni engrossed in her own mobile phone, singing and posing in front of it.  The boy’s mother grew suspicious and began recording the closed-circuit television footage when she saw Yuni shoving the boy aside. The footage showed Yuni kicking him with her feet in a “pedalling motion” for about eight seconds.  She also kicked his face once, causing him to fall back, before pushing his legs in a rough manner towards his face as he lay on his back. His mother stopped recording the footage at 11.45am when her husband returned home from work. She lodged a police report at Pasir Ris Neighbourhood Police Centre later that day. 

The next day, she took the boy to KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital.  A doctor found bruising on his cheek and thigh as well as a superficial abrasion on his upper back. They did not arise from Yuni’s actions but no further details were given. Yuni admitted that she had kicked and pushed him in frustration. Appearing through a video-link, she cried as she told the court through an interpreter that she had “been in custody for more than a year”.  She later clarified that she had been staying in a shelter since committing the offences and was in remand for the past two months. She pleaded for a lighter sentence, saying that she had lost her income to support her family. 

District Judge Ow Yong Tuck Leong agreed with the prosecution, noting that the boy was “particularly vulnerable” and required his parents and helper’s care. Anyone entrusted with caring for young children “will be firmly dealt with if they betray that trust”, the judge added. Yuni could have been jailed up to four years, fined up to S$4,000 or both.

Published 19 AUGUST, 2020 by LOUISA TANG