Domestic violence by women against men on the rise

Rising gender equality blamed for leap in cases of attacks on men by women

PUBLISHED : Monday, 12 November, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 12 November, 2012, 5:31am

Women are increasingly using violence against their husbands and boyfriends, according to figures from the police and Social Welfare Department.

A social worker said women are facing growing pressure outside home as many have to make a living to support their family. Those who cannot find ways to ease their pressure may resort to violence.

Police recorded 961 cases of domestic violence across the city in the first six months, up four cases year-on-year. Most incidents, 243, were in the New Territories North, up eight cases on the same period last year.

At the same time the ratio of male to female victims in New Territories North narrowed to one man to four women in the first six months from one man to 5.66 women last year. Many mainland migrants and ethnic minorities settle in the district.

The growing trend of men being battered was also spotted by the Social Welfare Department, which recorded 558 male victims last year, up more than 7 per cent from 520 in 2010.

Paulina Kwok Chi-ying, centre supervisor at the Caritas Family Crisis Support Centre, said such a rise was a result of gender equality and Hong Kong becoming no longer a male-dominated society as traditional concepts retreated. "Women also face much pressure nowadays, both at work and in the family. When they do not know how to ease their anxiety, they may resort to violence," Kwok said.

In 2004 a jobless man in Tin Shui Wai chopped dead his wife and two daughters before killing himself. The tragedy shocked the whole city and prompted the government to review its policies on domestic violence.

Detective Superintendent Eddy Choy Wai-fu of New Territories North Regional Crime Headquarters said police had recently beefed up training for 350 officers to handle domestic violence under a scheme codenamed Project Sunflower, which started in March 2010.

Most of the 350 officers came from designated squads with experience in handling domestic violence.

Choy said the police code of practice clearly stated that each case of domestic violence has to be handled by at least one officer ranked sergeant or higher, and repeated cases by the team who has previously handled the same families, so they can better understand the background of those families.

Most of the cases police received were about family disputes. But they also come across assaults, criminal intimidation, wounding and even sexual assaults and homicide.