The city has seen about a five percent rise in child abuse cases in 2022, says Social Welfare Department
The majority of the abuse victims in Hong Kong in 2022 were female children. (Image: Pixaby)
Police in Hong Kong arrested 40 staff from three institutions in a crackdown amid concerns over a rise in child abuse cases in the Chinese-ruled city, a police official said.
The city has seen a five percent increase in child abuse cases in childcare homes in 2022, according to Hong Kong Social Welfare Department.
From January to September a total of 1,079 child abuse cases were reported, compared to 1,023 during the same period in 2021.
Amid the rise in cases, the government has continued to educate carers, parents, and children on various forms of abuse, said Yu Kaijun, the chief of the Support Division of Hong Kong police, Singtao news portal reported on Jan. 26.
“Lectures have been held for the staff of the nursing home, teaching them not only to be conscious, but also to have the knowledge to understand the child abuse laws, and to distinguish what child abuse is,” said Yu.
Physical abuse topped the list with 44.1 percent followed by sexual abuse (31 percent), neglect (19.6 percent), psychological harm (1.2 percent), and multiple types of abuse (4.1 percent).
Among the victims in 2022, 59.5 percent were female children, and 40.5 percent were male children.
Yu pointed out that swift action is taken against abusers and many arrests have been made by the Special Task Force created last year.
Besides the arrest of 40 staff members of care homes, cases involving abuses of 56 children are being investigated, said police official Yu.
Yu also pointed out that the working conditions of the caregivers were also a factor that contributed to child abuse.
“Some work cultures of the old era may not be applicable now,” Yu said adding that “taking care of children is not easy. In addition, some homes may not have enough manpower, and the working hours are long and the pressure is quite high.”
The case of child abuse in the Tongleju childcare center made headlines, where staff reportedly hit two of the children on their heads on Nov. 29, 2020.
The defendant had blamed the work culture of Tongleju as a reason for the crime and was sentenced to four years and ten months in prison.
To tackle the rising child abuse cases in the region the police, in addition to setting up the task force, created a support team for vulnerable witnesses in July last year.
The group of more than 170 police officers, professionals, and social workers help in obtaining the victims’ statements as video evidence and assist them in recovery.
Recently, the Hong Kong police organized a one-day daycare for children with intellectual disabilities at the Pat Heung Juvenile Police Call Center.
The children were taken care of for the whole day in an attempt to give the parents a half-day rest.
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