According to a report by the Straits Times on 7 March 2019, Senior Minister of State for Law and Health, Mr. Edwin Tong announced recent changes to criminal laws in Singapore. These changes are being introduced at a time when more children are going online at an increasingly younger age which has resulted in a need to protect them from sexual grooming by predators lurking online.

Speaking at the 4th Criminal Law Conference, Mr. Tong also focused on the abolition of marital immunity of rape, greater protection for minors against sexual abuse and making community-based sentences more common among a wider range of offences.

One of the examples provided was the lowering of the minimum age for someone to be convicted of sexual grooming from 21 to 18.

Justice, according to Mr. Tong, requires laws that reflect social values, respond to new trends in crime and balance the interests of the victim against fairness to the accused. He also said that the Internet is very much a part of children’s lives today, and makes the problem of online sexual grooming even more pressing.

Citing a previous case where the accused used social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram to befriend girls aged 12 and 13, and subsequently asked them for nude pictures and in some cases, met and sexually violated them.

The lowering of the minimum age of offenders from 21 to 18 is meant to target perpetrators just shy of the age of 21 who target children much younger than them. One of the situations that could constitute an offence is “sexting”, where sexually inappropriate messages or media are exchanged via text or instant messaging platforms in a conversation involving a minor.

To find out more about these proposed changes, or if you have been caught in a situation that may require legal assistance, please contact us.

Our Criminal Lawyer Amarjit Singh Sidhu is vastly experienced in Singapore’s laws. With several high profile criminal law cases under his belt, Amarjit and his team of dedicated and compassionate lawyers have defended numerous clients over the years across a wide spectrum of the law.

Leave Comments