Did WP Raeesah Khan accompany a rape victim to make a police report? That’s the question on many people’s mind after she repeatedly refused in Parliament to provide any details on her allegation of the police’s mishandling of a rape victim, citing confidentiality issue. Did police mishandle the case as she alleged? Perhaps we will know the answers after the Police has interviewed her.
During the WP’s Motion on Empowering Women on 3rd August 2021, WP Raeesah Khan said that three years ago, she had accompanied a 25-year-old rape survivor to file a police report. The victim came out crying and told her that the police officer had made comments about her dressing and the fact that she had been drinking.
Mr Desmond Tan, Minister of State in the Ministry of Home Affairs, then asked her for more details so that the incident could be investigated. He explained that MHA took these allegations very seriously, and that they had to be looked into, to check if the case had been handled properly by the Police, and they should not be swept aside without further investigations.
Ms Khan’s response was that the incident happened 3 years ago, she did not want to re-traumatize the survivor, and moreover, she was unable to contact the victim.
You can watch the exchange here:
In his ministerial statement delivered on 4 Oct 2021, Minister for Home Affairs and Law K Shanmugam said they took such allegations concerning the Police very seriously especially since it was raised in Parliament.
He said he understood and empathized with Ms Raeesah not wanting to re-traumatised the victim.
“We will consider carefully how to protect the victim, and deal with this matter sensitively. What is extremely important is that we identify the Police station, the Police officers involved. I have given very clear instructions to the Police that we have to identify the officers involved, get their versions, to be fair to them,” Mr Shanmugam said.
What further steps to be taken after the investigation would depend on the facts, he added.
The Minister reiterated that the government took a very serious view about making sure that the Police do the right thing. If they had not behaved well, then they must be disciplined. This means investigating what happened and identifying the officers involved.
“That’s how we have maintained an excellent Home Team. As I’ve said, this does not have to mean that the victim has to be named publicly. We will consider carefully how to proceed, so as not to re-traumatize the victim. And, for us to take this further, we need more details,” Mr Shanmugam said.
Mr Shanmugam asked for the name of the Police station, the names of the police officer or officers who attended to the victim and Ms Raeesah Khan, or some details about the officers – such as how many officers were there, rough age, race, male or female – if she cannot remember their names.
He also added that police had spent a lot of time searching their records, since the allegation was made and could not no cases that fitted Ms Raeesah’s description.
“They don’t seem to be able to identify a case where Ms Khan was present with a victim. It is entirely possible that they didn’t note down Ms Khan’s name, but it is most important that the matter is not left hanging with doubt over what may or may not have happened,” Mr Shanmugam said.
“And as I have said, our focus is on the Police officers, the reputation of the Singapore Police Force, to help the victim, and for us to find out what happened, and to try and make sure the Police officers understand better if indeed it happened in this way, and change their behavior if necessary, and for the message to go out to all Police officers.”
You can watch the exchange here:
Rounding up, Minister Shanmugam said:
“Sir, we have checked our records. We have no such case that fits in with the description that has been given by the Member. I wanted to give her the option of giving us the best information she has, that she confirms that such an incident happened, that she accompanied the victim to the Police station, and that she does not wish to divulge the information only because of confidentiality. Speaker and Members will know that confidentiality doesn’t extend to not telling us which Police station.
And Sir, I will leave it here for now, but that does not mean the matter rests.
The police will investigate this very serious matter further. The officers in charge in the Police will interview Ms Khan, and any allegations of misconduct concerning specific officers will be referred to SPF’s Internal Affairs Office for further investigation. Because I will say to Ms Khan, through you Sir, that at the very least, she must remember which Police station, which year this happened in which month, and some details of the number and the ages and races of the Police officers who she says, and she has confirmed for us that she did see them. Thank you, Sir.”