The recent increase in major child abuse incidents at preschools in the local area has led to the implementation of CCTVs starting on July 1, 2024. Despite this upcoming measure, cases of abuse have not decreased, with a recent incident involving a five-year-old girl who was reportedly kicked by a preschool teacher. To gain insight into whether CCTVs are an effective solution to combat child abuse in schools, we spoke with Melissa Simin Goh-Karssen, a Senior Lecturer in Early Childhood Education at Singapore University of Social Sciences.

In recent years, there has been a concerning rise in child abuse cases at preschools, leading to calls for more surveillance measures to protect children. The mandatory installation of CCTVs at childcare centres aims to provide a deterrent to potential abusers and ensure the safety of young students. However, the effectiveness of CCTVs in preventing abuse remains a topic of debate among experts.

According to Melissa Simin Goh-Karssen, while the presence of CCTVs can act as a deterrent and provide valuable evidence in abuse cases, they are not a foolproof solution. She emphasizes the importance of addressing the root causes of abuse, such as inadequate training for teachers and staff, and creating a culture of transparency and accountability within childcare centres. Simply relying on CCTVs may not address the underlying issues that lead to abuse in the first place.

Furthermore, the reliance on technology to prevent abuse can sometimes create a false sense of security. CCTVs can only capture what happens within their range, leaving blind spots in areas that are not monitored. In some cases, abusers may find ways to avoid detection or manipulate the system, rendering CCTVs ineffective in preventing abuse.

In addition to installing CCTVs, childcare centres should focus on implementing comprehensive training programs for staff, conducting regular checks and audits, and fostering open communication channels between teachers, students, and parents. Building a strong support network and promoting a culture of vigilance and awareness can be more effective in preventing and addressing child abuse than relying solely on surveillance technology.

While CCTVs can play a role in enhancing security measures at childcare centres, they should be seen as part of a larger strategy to safeguard children and create a safe learning environment. By addressing the root causes of abuse and promoting a culture of safety and accountability, childcare centres can work towards reducing the incidence of abuse and ensuring the well-being of all students under their care.