Justice Without Borders recently met with medical social workers from National University Hospital (NUH), to share JWB’s work, and how they can contribute to identifying victims’ civil compensation claims in cases involving migrant workers. About 30 medical social workers joined the session, and they raised fresh perspectives on issues relating to migrant workers.
How Medical Social Workers Help Migrant Workers
The Department of Medical Social Work at NUH has played an integral part in the hospital’s efforts to provide holistic care to its patients. As part of the multi-disciplinary team collaborating with doctors, nurses and other health professionals, medical social workers provide psychosocial care to patients and their families. They address the psychological, emotional, economic and physical impact of illnesses. Medical social workers are often the first point of contact for domestic workers who go to hospitals after suffering physical or even psychological injuries.
They can thus play a vital role in identifying victims’ claims for just compensation and ensuring that the relevant evidence is gathered at first instance.
Discussions on Identifying Claims Early On
Our Singapore Pro Bono Officer, Ms. Tammie Koh, began the session by sharing about JWB’s work and its position as a regional organisation. Ms.Koh discussed the various types of cases that JWB handles and the legal and non-legal challenges they entail. The attendees were keen to learn more about the legal aspect of claiming just compensation, asking questions about how a claim can be enforced, when it can be pursued in court, time limits to commencing a legal action, and the realistic chances of success.
The discussion also involved discussing how attendees could identify critical evidence in claims as early as possible, while workers still had access to them. Ms. Koh also discussed the importance of medical reports for sexual or physical abuse cases, which could be difficult for workers to obtain if they did not know the process for requesting them. Ms. Koh also discussed employment contract, salary payments and police reports that can be equally crucial in helping the victims obtain just compensation.
The session with the medical social workers from NUH was an engaging and fruitful one, and we look forward to working together to ensure that victims of exploitation can pursue their claims, even after returning home.
JWB is thankful to the Department of Medical Social Work at NUH for collaborating with us for this session.