Atika, who goes by one name, pleaded guilty on Friday (Aug 17) to two counts of ill-treating the child — who cannot be named due to a gag order.
She started working for her employer, the girl’s mother, since October last year.
Another three counts of similar offences were taken into consideration for sentencing purposes.
The court heard that the girl has a developmental condition known as 18q duplication syndrome with Global Developmental Delay. She is unable to talk, and is dependent on someone to assist her with the basic activities of daily living.
On May 9, at around 8pm, Atika was assisting the girl to use the toilet at home, during which she vomited into the sink.
Feeling unhappy with the girl, Atika pinched her on the arm hard.
The next afternoon, Atika was helping to shower the girl, and washed her roughly, scratching her on the back.
“After showering, (the girl) urinated on the toilet floor. Irritated by this, (Atika) pinched the victim hard on the upper lip,” said Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Kong Kuek Foo.
A short while later, on the same day, Atika’s employer made a police report.
She reported that Atika previously “admitted to me she hit my special needs kid”, and that she had been noticing scars on her daughter.
A medical examination revealed that the girl suffered from abrasions, scars and bruises over parts of her arms, lips, and body.
Urging the court to impose a jail sentence of 10 months, DPP Kong said the offences spanned five months.
He also pointed out that the victim, who suffers from a developmental condition, is vulnerable and “defenceless”.
“Instead of discharging her duties as a caregiver, (Atika) abused the trust given to her, by physically abusing the victim,” the prosecutor said.
Atika, who had no lawyer, submitted a written mitigation plea, where she urged for leniency.
“It is my first time (coming) to Singapore to work … (and it) has been a year since I have been away from my family,” she wrote, adding that she has since “reflected” on her actions.
District Judge Lim Tse Haw backdated Atika’s sentence to Aug 1, when she was first taken into remand.
For ill-treating the child, she could have been jailed up to four years and/or fined up to S$4,000.