Last May, a bill was passed to make some key changes to Singapore’s Penal Code that aims to keep the said code relevant in the digital age. You see, it is safe to assume that the vast majority of people in Singapore have access to smartphones and other digital devices, which is why some changes revolve around revenge porn, voyeurism, among many others.

In the event that someone is facing criminal charges, a defense attorney will be given to them, should they be incapable of providing their own.

Today, I am going to talk about the major changes in the Penal Code.

Revised Sexual Offenses

Offenses that fall under Voyeurism, such as taking upskirt photos of unwilling victims, is already considered a crime and may result in imprisonment of 1-2 years.

Revenge porn is also included in the Penal Code. This is where the perpetrator distributes lewd or malicious videos and photos of the victim in an attempt to get back at their former partners.

Maximum jail time for such an offense would be five years with the option of imposing a fine as well. Imprisonment is a must, especially if such an act was committed against people under the age of 14 years.

Deception or Misrepresentation in Sexual Activity

In the event that the man and the woman engage in sexual intercourse and the man would slip off the condom that they wore without the knowledge of their partners, then that act alone can now be criminalized as well.

In addition, this new rule also applies to partners who deceive or lie to their partners about the presence of any sexually-transmitted diseases or STDs as this compromises the victim’s consent.

The changes were made to help protect people from such untoward incidences that may bring harm or serious risks to one’s sexual autonomy.

For Those Who Are Between the Ages of 16 and 18

In Singapore, the age of consent is 16, but through the aforementioned age up to 18 years old is still considered to be a ‘minor’ and will be given even more protection against sexual assailants.

Exploitation of Minors

New offenses are added to the Penal Code in an attempt to protect minors. The conducts that have been newly outlawed are:

  1. Showing a minor any sexual or lewd images
  2. Sexual Communication with Minors
  3. Performing sexual acts to the minor or with the presence of a minor.

As with sexual grooming, the law is not reinforced to help protect the people. The required number of instances before contact between the victim and the suspect has now been reduced to one (from the previous number, 2). In fact, just traveling to meet the victim is now considered as an offense.

Decriminalization of Suicide

Those who have attempted suicide will now live with full confidence knowing that the act is no longer considered a crime. This is done since the threat of prosecution and the labeling of “offender” to anyone who tries to commit suicide, may contribute to the worsening of the condition of the person.