News reports with quotes from Evonne

Concern over how to support children of drug offenders

Should children whose parents are drug offenders be sent to boarding schools to reduce the risk of them also becoming addicts later in life? Growing up in a family enviroment where one or both parents abuse drugs can affect children in many ways, from cognitive to emotional, said Ms Evonne Lek, a family therapist.

Let’s talk about ‘safe’ drinking

Ms Evonne Lek, a counsellor, said that often, young people who are heavy drinkers socially might not even think of themselves as alcoholics.Ms Lek said that schools, families and social groups should talk about safe drinking. She said: "Not every young person studies biology or knows what alcohol actually does to their bodies. "Perhaps schools should have a programme to educate the young on safe alcohol use."

Alcohol abuse worse among younger people

Mr Tan and Ms Evonne Lek, a family therapist, also noted that binge drinking and alcohol abuse among young people often go unnoticed as it has become almost normal behaviour. They warn that binge drinking can often lead to dangerous social and psychological impacts, given the violent or depressive behaviours associated with heavy drinkers. Ms Lek said it could destroy families if the abuser develops other abusive behaviours and does not seek help in time. The IMH study estimated that 96.2 per cent alcohol abusers were not seeking help. Sharing a story about one of her clients, Ms Lek said by the time he sought help, his family had left him. He was unable to reunite with them or have unsupervised visits with his children because of his record of alcohol-fuelled abuse.

Drug abusers’ kids threatened not just by drugs

In Parliament on Tuesday, Member of Parliament Melvin Yong (Tanjong Pagar GRC) cited studies that said children with drug-addict parents are more likely to take drugs later in life. Family therapist Evonne Lek told The New Paper the worst case scenario happens when the mother takes drugs while pregnant. This would affect the child's cognitive and physical abilities. And growing up in an environment where either or both parents are not present or stable would be a deteriment to the child emotionally and mentally.

Why you need to think twice before pressing the upload button to shame someone

You see a man shouting at a child, maybe even laying hands on her and immediately, you whip out your phone to take a video that you later upload onto social media. The clip goes viral and the man gets slammed viciously online. He could even get arrested for his actions… but is that a good thing? Evonne Lek, a family therapist and systemic psychotherapist with over 17 years of experience working with children, told The Pride that from the girl’s body language in the video, she appeared “passive and resigned to being slapped by the man”.

Police, MSF probing video of kneeling child being slapped

Child psychologist Evonne Lek said if the abuse is repeated, such behaviour can be deemed physical and emotional abuse, which could have a lasting impact on the child. Ms Lek was concerned the girl remained still during the incident as it could mean that "this had happened before and she is used to it".

Experts: Lack of support can make sexual assault victim's trauma worse

Victims of sexual assault and harassment are often fearful of reporting their experiences, experts told The New Paper. Ms Evonne Lek, a counsellor and child therapist, told TNP that negative responses from friends or family can make the victim's trauma much worse as they feel not only betrayed by the alleged offender, but also by people they trust.

Singapore a good country to raise kids, but maybe not the best

Is Singapore truly the best country in the world for children to grow up in? Last week, international non-governmental organisation Save The Children published its annual End of Childhood report, which ranked Singapore as number one out of 175 countries. Family therapist Evonne Lek said the well-being of children should also be looked into. She said: "From the suicide rate among children, you can see that kids here are being put through a lot of stress."

Parents must ensure Internet wellness in kids

An innocuous comment left on a photo online can spark insecurities and damage self-esteem among the young. Ms Evonne Lek, a family therapist, said: "Children often turn to gaming and social media as a way to avoid negative emotions. "I have seen cases where children immersed themselves in games so that they do not have to think about their unhappy family environments."

Penal Code review committee: Minors from 16 to 18 years to be better protected from sexual predators

Minors will receive more protection against sexual predators, with new categories of sex offences and harsher punishment. Family therapist Evonne Lek said the proposed changes showed a stricter stance on child sexual abuse and exploitation, but she expressed concern that the tightening of the law might prevent offenders or potential offenders from seeking help.

Protecting minors aged 16 to 18 from sexual exploitation

Minors will receive more protection against sexual predators with new categories of sex offences and harsher punishment. Family therapist Evonne Lek said the proposed changes showed a stricter stance on child sexual abuse. She added that she hoped the new laws would allow offenders to be flagged earlier so they can receive treatment and therapy.

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