Singapore Employer Allegedly Abused Helper For Months, Latter Climbed 15 Floors To Escape

Alone in a foreign country, domestic helpers are often vulnerable and subject to the whims of their employers behind closed doors.

Too often, we hear of helpers being subjects of abuse.

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On Monday (28 Sep), Nuur Audadi Yusoff pleaded guilty to abusing her helper. On one occasion, she even slapped her helper with a mobile phone till her face bled.

With all the charges against her, the employer faces up to 12 years jail time.

Abuse of helper started 1 month into employment

According to Channel NewsAsia (CNA), Nuur Audadi’s family employed their 24-year-old helper from Dec 2017 to May 2018.

Barely 1 month into settling into her new job, the helper’s nightmares started.

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For minor issues like forgetting to apply baby ointment on the child, Nuur Audadi reportedly slapped and spat at her helper.

Other incidents of abuse include dragging the helper by her hair for not showering the kids or singing to them. Once, the employer even threw a glass cup cover at her, reports CNA.

Things then seemed to take a more positive turn when Nuur Audadi promised not to hit her helper again.

She even brought the 24-year-old to the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) to help report her ex-employer for missed salaries.

Grateful, the victim continued to work for Nuur Audadi as she needed the money for her family back home.

Employer slaps helper with phone till she bleeds

Unfortunately, the relief was fleeting as the abuse resumed soon after.

Based on CNA’s report, an inspection of the helper’s phone invoked Nuur Audadi’s anger when she found her children’s photos on the former’s Facebook account.

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An enraged Nuur Audadi then used the phone to slap the helper until her face bled.

In the days that followed, she allegedly pulled the victim’s hair and slapped her multiple times.

When the helper asked for a transfer, she was slapped.

The helper was then forced to sleep in the living room with the doors locked so she could not escape. With her phone confiscated, the helper had no way to call for help.

Helper escaped by climbing down 15 balconies

The breaking point for the helper came when Nuur Audadi accused her of being a prostitute and flirting with her husband. She then hit her repeatedly with a broom.

Making the decision to escape, the helper climbed down from the balcony to get to her room and collect her belongings.

According to The Straits Times, she climbed down from the 15th floor balcony, floor by floor, until she reached the ground level of the Yishun block.

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Later, she received treatment at a hospital for her bruises and wounds.

Employer pleads guilty to helper abuse

On Monday (28 Sep), Nuur Audadi Yusoff pleaded guilty to 6 charges of voluntarily causing hurt. Another 9 charges are being taken into consideration.

The severity of the repeated abuse was brought up by the public prosecutor.

They highlighted that since Nuur Audadi had previously worked for MOM, she should be well aware that her actions were wrong.

According to CNA, for each charge of voluntarily causing hurt, she could face up to 2 years’ jail, up to $5,000 in fines, or both.

Offences against a domestic helper could also mean increased penalties of up to 1.5 times of the maximum.

The employer will receive her sentencing in court in November.

Important to value & protect helpers

Sadly, such stories of abuse are not uncommon and many others go unreported.

Domestic helpers come to seek a better life for themselves and their families. They raise our children, clean our homes, and feed our families, playing vital roles in Singapore.

It is important for our justice system to send a clear message that they value and protect this vulnerable group of people.

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Featured image adapted from Amarjit Sidhu Law and Google Maps.