Syariah Court and FITRAH to provide holistic support to couples with incarcerated partners
Through the combined efforts of the Syariah Court as well as FITRAH (Family and Inmates ThRoughcare Assistance Haven), positive developments have been made to further assist couples on the verge of divorce, specifically couples with incarcerated parties.
As of October 2018, the Marriage Counselling Programme (MCP) has been made mandatory for couples seeking divorce, through the amendment of the Administration of the Muslim Law Act (AMLA). And this has been extended to couples with incarcerated partners too.
Over the years, it has been proven that MCP has been effective in saving marriages. Statistically, between 2016 – 2018, 48% of 3,200 couples did not proceed with divorce after attending the counselling sessions.
This was also shared by Senior Parliamentary Secretary (Home Affairs and Health), Mr Amrin Amin, during an engagement session with MCP counsellors at Kampung Ubi CC on Friday, 21 June 2019.
“We have seen the success of this counselling programme, which has benefitted many couples who are undergoing the process of divorce. With that said, we would like to extend this service to incarcerated individuals who may be affected by this.”
Inmates with children under 21 years old will undergo up to 5 MCP sessions while those without children will undergo up to 3 MCP sessions. These sessions are conducted through face-to-face sessions within prison grounds, or through video-conferencing from any one of six satellite centres – Kampong Ubi Community Centre, ACE the Place Community Club, Industrial and Services Co-Operative Society (ISCOS), Lakeside Family Centre, Singapore Anti-Narcotics Association (SANA) and Singapore Children’s Society.
The Syariah Court aims to provide a more comprehensive support to Malay/Muslim couples with the assistance of FITRAH’s Community Befrienders. These Community Befrienders will provide emotional support to families, specifically those with children.
Aligned with one of the key focus areas of M³ – supporting vulnerable individuals and their families – this collaboration between the Syariah Court, Singapore Prisons Service and the FITRAH Office aims to provide holistic support to couples who are filing for divorce while one party is in prison. It is hoped that more marriages can be saved and if not, settled amicably so that their children’s needs and well-being are given upmost priority.