Several serious child abuse cases have been exposed in Hong Kong recently. According to the statistics provided by the Labour and Welfare Bureau to Legislative Council , the number of newly registered child protection cases in 2022 is 1,439, a shocking 53% increase as compared to the number of cases in 2020. In 2021, cases related to child-related institutions took up only 5% of all cases. Yet one year later, the percentage rose to 8%, the situation is worrying.
To make things worse, among the child abuse cases, the abusers are those close to or trusted by the victims; the cases would happen at home, in school or even children protection institutions.
In 2021, 34 staff from a children residential home were found to have abused around 40 toddlers and children. Forms of abuse included slapping, poking at eyes, pulling hair and dragging. So far, 15 staff are convicted.
In 2019, a tutor attacked a boy by pushing, demanding him to consume rubbish, stitching his ear with stapler and threatening to have his hair cut.
In 2018, a five-year-old was abused and killed by her father and step-mother. Before her death, she was starved, hit by slipper and slept in a living room during winter. She was tossed up until her head hit the ceiling.
“Child Safeguarding” is more effective than “Child Protection”. Even one child abuse case is too much. We are grateful that reporting suspected child abuse cases is going to be made mandatory in Hong Kong. Through the legislation, professionals from the health, social work, and education sectors become mandatory reporters and the suspected cases have to be reported as soon as practicable. Besides, “Kindergarten Child Safeguarding Practice Manual” and Online Learning Platform have been launched to motivate child-related institutions to implement the Child Safeguarding Policy to take precautionary and interventive steps to reduce child abuse cases.
• Formulate a “Kindergarten Child Safeguarding Practice Manual” with concise and practical guidelines that could facilitate the implementation of the Policy in child-related organisations.
• Offer on-site workshops for consultation and addressing practical difficulties; provide immediate responses to queries from colleagues and staff.
• Launch an Online Learning Platform and offer three levels of certificate programmes providing trainings and useful resources for all staff and relevant personnel.
• Organise Child Safeguarding related workshops for teaching staff and parents to learn how to protect children, for children to learn self-protection tips, and for adults to learn how to get along with children in a proper manner.
• Conduct researches on the Child Safeguarding Policy to further understand the progress of implementing the Policy in Hong Kong and the opinions of stakeholders on related matters.
虐兒｜去年1439宗破紀錄 女童更容易受虐 身體傷害、性侵佔最多 (2023), 香港01