Activists demand action on 'alarming' abuse

PUBLISHED : Friday, 03 August, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 03 August, 2007, 12:00am

Child welfare advocates have expressed shock over the latest abuse cases involving minors and reiterated their demand that the government set up a children's commission.

'It is alarming. It is shocking to the community,' said Priscilla Lui Tsang Sun-kai, director of Against Child Abuse, referring to the recent cases, which include an alleged dumping of a three-year-old boy's body in a landfill site.

'Our children should be treated as a treasure from heaven, but in actual life we hear these tragic cases on a daily basis.

'These shocking cases no longer seem to be rare anymore.'

The Social Welfare Department said 56 per cent of abuse cases reported between January and March involved physical abuse, 29 per cent sexual abuse and 9.5 per cent neglect. In nearly seven out of 10 of cases, the parents committed the abuse.

Mrs Lui said the government should not delay the establishment of a children's commission to protect youngsters.

The commission would help to change how the society saw children's needs, from a child's perspective rather than an adult's.

Mrs Lui also said the government should set up a review mechanism on fatal and serious child abuse cases in the city.

'Cases should be reviewed promptly to see if anything that was not done could be done in the future, so measures would be brought in to prevent tragedies,' she said.

Lam Mong-chow, professor at Chinese University's department of social work, also wants to see a centralised children's commission established to deal with development and welfare.

'With all the cases and the complicated factors contributing to hardship of children in some poor families and the general mental health of children, it might be good to have a central commission,' Professor Lam said.

A Social Welfare Department spokeswoman said welfare officers usually visited families in need.