Google has worked with the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) to introduce a new Search experience to help potential victims of domestic/family violence and sexual assault. Searches for terms like “domestic violence”, “family violence”, “my partner is hitting me”, “sexual assault” will see a result at the top of the page encouraging potential victims to seek help by speaking with someone at the National Anti-Violence and Sexual Harassment Helpline (NAVH).
This rollout is in line with the MSF’s commitment to tackle family violence through the setting up of the NAVH. Since 2016, MSF has also been running the ‘Break The Silence’ public education campaign to raise awareness of family violence and encourage survivors and witnesses to seek help. As part of the campaign, MSF promoted the use of the ‘Signal for Help’ in November 2021, a one-handed signal that survivors can use to indicate discreetly that they need help.
It comes amid a steady increase in enquiries and new cases of domestic/family violence, with a total of over 4,500 enquiries to the NAVH in 2020. Searches for the term “domestic violence” and “sexual assault” on Google saw a large spike in April 2020 during the height of the pandemic, with significant spikes after that.
Ben King, Country Managing Director of Google Singapore said, “For victims of domestic or family violence and sexual assault, time is of the essence when searching for help. Through this enhanced Search experience, we hope to connect victims with the right authorities to get them the help they need immediately. We will continue to work closely with the Ministry of Social and Family Development with complementary initiatives to support the broader efforts to tackle violence locally, so that no one in our community will have to live in fear in a place they call home.”
Ms Sun Xueling, Minister of State for Social and Family Development, and Education, said, “We are delighted to work with partners such as Google in our campaign to raise awareness on Family Violence and Sexual Harassment. No one should suffer in silence. Since 1 May 2022, MSF has enhanced the National Anti-Violence and Sexual Harassment Helpline (NAVH) to be the one-stop helpline for anyone to report violence, including sexual violence and sexual harassment. Through this initiative with Google, witnesses or victim-survivors of violence will be able to get access to help more expediently. MSF appreciates the partnership with Google to raise awareness of the NAVH, which complements our ongoing public education efforts to tackle violence.”
The search terms will continue to be revised over time, to include notable related searches in the near future. This update will be available on both desktop and mobile (Android/iOS).