Counselling plea for men involved in family strife

PUBLISHED : Monday, 22 January, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 22 January, 2007, 12:00am

A social worker has called for better counselling services for men amid signs that family disputes fuelled by their frustrations are increasing.

Fifty-two women contacted Caritas' family service for help in November and December, compared with a monthly average of nine cases in the first 10 months of the year.

'Many of these ladies felt frightened by their husbands' abnormal behaviour,' said Lai Wai-lung, director of the Caritas Personal Growth Centre for Men.

'Some became fearful after learning about the recent cases of wife-killings in Hong Keung Court and Kwai Fong Estate.'

The number of men seeking help at Caritas rose to three a month in November and December, compared with two a month previously.

Most of these men were looking for wives who had run away because of family disputes, according to Mr Lai. He said frustrated men often believed that social workers had helped their partners to flee.

An angry man recently threatened to set fire to a Caritas centre because he believed its social workers had ruined his family.

'We are worried that the situation may go from bad to worse,' Mr Lai said. 'If they can't find proper outlets for their frustration, the angry men may engage in more aggressive acts.'

He urged the government to set up a marriage counselling centre for men.

Mr Lai suggested it help men whose wives had run away, while also acting as a mediator to help broken families resolve their difficulties. 'It can help them look for their partners, keeping them hopeful of a reunion,' he said.

The centre could arrange for deserted men to meet their partners, even if the prospect of a reunion seemed unlikely.