The White Paper on the development of women proposes 25 action plans to be implemented over 10 years

RECOGNIZING AND SUPPORTING CAREGIVERS

The second area addressed by the White Paper is recognizing the contributions of carers and supporting their efforts.

More affordable, available and accessible respite care options for older adults will give caregivers more flexibility and allow them to take time to recharge, the white paper reads.

The household services program, which allows households to benefit from part-time household services, will be expanded to better support caregivers.

The white paper proposed doubling the home care subsidy from S$200 to S$400 for low-income households.

Beneficiaries whose monthly per capita family income does not exceed S$1,200 and who live in a residence whose annual value does not exceed S$13,000 will receive S$400. Those with monthly per capita family income between S$1,201 and S$2,800 will receive S$250.

The Mobility and Enabling Fund for Seniors has also been expanded to defray some of the costs incurred by informal caregivers in caring for seniors.

The next action in this area is to strengthen support for women and children, including improving access to affordable, quality preschools.

An inter-agency working group has been established to develop a child and maternal health and well-being strategy. This includes giving every pregnant woman access to quality maternity care services, the government said in the White Paper.

The White Paper also set out two action plans for society to support the well-being of carers.

To raise awareness of caregiver support initiatives, the government proposes to promote the Integrated Care Agency as a one-stop shop for caregivers of seniors. It will also work with community partners to form peer support networks for caregivers to better connect them to the support they need.

To help families better support their carers, the Retirement Sum Topping-up Scheme’s tax relief cap was raised from S$7,000 to S$8,000 from January, for self and family top-ups. family.

The government will also explore ways to diversify complementary sources of the matched retirement savings scheme to help older Singaporeans build up the basic pension sum.

“This will encourage more family members to help meet the retirement needs of caregivers, especially those who have sacrificed higher incomes and retirement savings,” reads the white paper.

The government also plans to improve support for carers of people with disabilities and children with developmental needs. This includes improving support for preschool children with developmental needs and their caregivers.

PROTECTION AGAINST VIOLENCE AND HARM

The third area, protection from violence and harm, covers six action plans set out in the White Paper.

In revising the sentencing framework for sexual offenses and injuries, Singapore has increased the penalties for three sexual offenses in the Penal Code.

The sentencing framework for sexual offenses and injuries was last reviewed in 2021, to ensure penalties reflect that such acts are ‘deeply offensive to our core values’, it reads. in the White Paper.

“The house in particular should be a safe space. Unfortunately, cases of domestic violence still occur, and more can be done to address them and support victim-survivors,” he continued.

So, in strengthening protections for survivors of domestic violence, the government has accepted in principle all of the recommendations of the Domestic Violence Task Force, and they will be implemented over the next few years.

These measures include improving the domestic violence response framework and raising awareness through public education efforts, the white paper states.

The government also plans to increase awareness and accessibility of resources for victims of online harm.

“The online space also needs greater attention and intervention,” the white paper reads, noting the recent formation of the Alliance for Action to tackle online harm, especially those that target women and girls.

Three action plans are dedicated to strengthening a culture of safety and respect in society.

These include building support and awareness of resources to address workplace harassment, implementing a national framework to promote safe sports, and promoting the values ​​of respect and safety through education.

Preschool teachers will be trained to teach children about body safety awareness and to tell trusted adults if they feel unsafe, the white paper proposed. Higher education institutes are also implementing mandatory modules on respect and appropriate behavior.

“Laws and policies that reinforce a culture of safety and respect must be embedded in the daily actions and habits of all Singaporeans. Parents play a key role in the education of their children from an early age. Men can actively speak out against women’s disrespect and objectification,” reads the White Paper.

“We all have a role to play in ensuring that Singapore continues to be a place where men and women feel safe and can fully participate in society.”

Mara R. Wilmoth