According to the figures from the Social Welfare Department, the number of newly reported cases of child abuse exceeded 1,000 in 2018, a record high since the government began tracking the statistics in 1981. In a research conducted by the University of Hong Kong in 2011, there are 13.3% of children aged 12-17 had experienced child abuse and neglect. They estimated that the number of cases in the population could amount to 120,000 per year. Thus, the actual situation is much more severe than we expected. In 2019, approximately one in four working adults experience symptoms of depression. If adults cannot manage their own stress properly, how can they create a healthy and safe environment for children? Sacrificing our children’s interests would be the last thing we want to see.
In 2015, a seven-year-old girl, Lam-lam, was found serious injured with severe malnutrition and numerous wounds. She was nearly died when she was taken to the hospital and ended up diagnosing with irreversible brain damage.
In 2018, a five-year old girl, Lam-lam, was found with over 30 wounds and missing teeth, eventually died as a result of continuous torture and abuses by her parents.
In 2019, a boy living in Tuen Mun was attacked by a tutor of a tutorial school. Various violent acts including pushing his head off the trash can, forcing him to eat garbage, trying to staple his ears with a stapler, hitting his fingers with scissors, and intimidating to cut his hair.
From 2016 to 2017, four boy scouts were molested by their scout leader, who groped the boys and performed oral sex on one of them. The leader then took him home to bath together. He pleaded guilty to seven counts of indecent assault.
The above cases show that a child is usually abused by someone they know or trust, and the cases commonly take place in locations they are familiar with, such as school, tutorial centres, interest’s class, and hostels. Thus, these parties should shoulder the responsibilities in creating a safe and healthy environment for children to grow up. Even one case is one too many, early detection of abused children could help prevent serious cases and lessen child maltreatment-related morbidity; however, remediation measures should never be the first priority as seeing any innocent child get hurt is distressing.
Plan International Hong Kong has strived to push forward every practitioner in the child-related sector to be the pioneer of child protection. More importantly, we believe that to establish a Child Safeguarding Policy with the 4 standards including Policy, People, Procedures and Accountability, help prevent harm to children with clear standard, and also minimising risks to children, parents, as well as staff, teachers, coaches or associates’ who maintain close contact with children.
To safeguard children’s best interests requires concerted efforts of all members in the community. Work together with us to safeguard children on social, domestic and institutional levels and to promote child protection in different organisations and communities in Hong Kong.
With a donation of HK$2 a day, you can create a friendly and safe environment for children at its root, by changing the child safeguarding system and ensuring effective and timely response is taken by different stakeholders for children are under threats.
〈Statistics on Newly Reported Child Abuse Cases, Spouse/Cohabitant Battering Cases and Sexual Violence Cases〉(2019), Social Welfare Department.
 Chan, Ko Ling & Brownridge, Douglas & Yan, Elsie & Fong, Daniel & Tiwari, Agnes. (2011). Child Maltreatment Polyvictimization: Rates and Short-Term Effects on Adjustment in a Representative Hong Kong Sample. Psychology of Violence.