Sweeping changes proposed to Singapore Penal Code; attempted suicide to be decriminalised.
One of the PCRC’s recommendations the Government took onboard is the decriminalisation of attempted suicide.
The release said that most of the respondents to the recommendations agreed that people who attempt suicide should be provided with help rather than be penalised. A minority felt that decriminalising the act is “contrary to the societal view that life is precious”, it added.
To this, the Government said the repeal of attempted suicide “does not mean that (it) has shifted its position on the sanctity of life”.
“This is reflected through the continued criminalisation of the abetment of attempted suicide, as well as amendments to other legislation to provide the police with the powers to intervene to prevent loss of life or injury in cases of attempted suicide,” the ministries said. Euthanasia, for instance, is still a crime.
People who attempt suicide should be helped, not prosecuted
In an announcement from the Ministries of Home Affairs and Law, the government said it agrees that people who attempt suicide should be provided with help, instead of being prosecuted as criminals.
It acknowledged growing recognition that treatment, rather than prosecution, is the appropriate response to people who attempt to take their own lives.
The PCRC highlighted that this has also formed the basis of how the police has handled cases like this thus far.
As it is, the rate of prosecution under Section 309 is extremely low, the ministries said, with the police usually referring cases of attempted suicide to a hospital or the Institute of Mental Health (IMH) for assessment.
Police and SCDF to be better empowered to help
As such, the PCRC further proposed several measures to be implemented in conjunction with the repeal of Section 309, to better strengthen the abilities of the police and SCDF to aid such cases.