PRESS RELEASE & STATEMENT

2021/04/14

Save the Children: How Many More Tragedies Does It Take Before Child Abuse Can Be Prevented?

Save the Children Hong Kong is deeply concerned about the horrific child abuse case involving a couple murdering their five-year-old daughter in 2018. Children’s safety and wellbeing should be paramount at all times. Child abuse is unacceptable and it needs to be immediately reported, stopped, and prevented. Long-term child-friendly care and support should be given to children involved in abuse and neglect cases to help them recover from trauma. We should not wait for the next tragedy to occur for the community to be reminded about the importance of protecting children and young people from violence and abuse. To ensure children’s safety, everyone has a role to play.

As a child-centred organisation, we urge all parties to better protect children in Hong Kong:

  • Government to put forward a comprehensive law to prohibit all corporal punishment and other cruel or degrading punishment of children in all settings;

  • Schools and community organisations to establish a mandatory reporting system for all professionals that regularly interact with children, to report any level of suspected child abuse and enable immediate intervention;

  • Government and community organisations to conduct parent education programmes to provide appropriate guidance to parents and caregivers to increase their knowledge in nurturing their children in a positive way. Mandatory parent education should be provided to high risk caregivers or those families in which abuse and neglect has already occurred.

What have we done at Save the Children Hong Kong?

Over the years, Save the Children Hong Kong, a leading international NGO supporting the most deprived and marginalised children, has been working tirelessly to build awareness of child protection with positive parenting in the community. Since its inception in 2018, our signature programme Heart to Heart Parent-Child Programme has helped enhance parent-child relationships and ensure that children grow up in a safe and non-violent environment. Through interactive activities, we impart positive parenting knowledge to parents and caregivers and empower children to express views and emotions and seek help if they feel unsafe. We continue to identify new partners to expand the programme in an effort to reach out to more children and families, in particular for those coming from deprived and marginalised communities.

Last year, we announced an investment of close to HK$8 million in a new area of focus on mental health programmes to address to the pressing needs of vulnerable children and their families in Hong Kong. In collaboration with other NGOs, we rolled out programmes featuring a wide variety of interventions, including intensive counselling, talks and workshops, parents’ support groups, and art and play therapy, to help children and youth maintain positive mental health and build resilience, so they can develop to their full potential.

At Save the Children, we are committed to making sure that children are safe, both within and outside their homes. Through our Child Safeguarding Partnerships Service, we help the Hong Kong community better understand and implement child safeguarding practices across their operations. We provide training and guidance to organisations that engage with children, developing their knowledge, skills, and protocols so they can better ensure that their organisations are child safe.

We continue to support the work of one of our longest standing partners in Hong Kong, Against Child Abuse (ACA), to raise awareness of child protection and promote positive parenting. Since 2012, we have been supporting ACA’s Parent-Child Support Line, which serves as a channel for parents, children and young people to seek help and support, and in particular, for the public and professionals to report suspected child abuse cases.

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