Please don’t house me next to my abusive mum, Hong Kong boy begs welfare chief
After authorities arrange place in care home for youngster near the estate where his mother lives, the scared 12-year-old writes an open letter saying he fears she will find him
A 12-year-old boy who was allegedly abused by his mother for six years has written an open letter to the social services authority begging not to be placed in a care home next to where she lives as he fears she will find him.
The boy, known only as “Keung Tsai”, was placed in a temporary care home in April after his mother was admitted to hospital with mental health problems.
Keung Tsai’s tutor, who has been helping him, said that over the course of six years she had beaten the boy with a rattan cane, locked him up at home without proper meals and threatened him with a knife.
The Social Welfare Department, however, had arranged for him to be placed in a long-term placement home near the same Wong Tai Sin estate where his mother now lived.
But events took a new twist on Wednesday when the department said it had arranged the placement in accordance with the boy’s wishes. After hearing of his concerns it would find him another home.
“My mom has been abusing me and often used a knife threatening to stab me,” the boy said in a handwritten letter to the department’s assistant director, Fung Man-chung.
“The home is very close to where [she lives]. I don’t feel safe. I know the social worker is already helping me, but my mother can still find me. I’m really scared, can you help me?”
There are no guidelines that stipulate a victim should not be housed near a perpetrator, unless there was a court injunction, according to Londy Leung Choi-lin, assistant chief executive at foster care agency St Christopher’s Home.
“There are many factors that the social worker takes into consideration when arranging a long-term placement. For example, the nature of the case itself, the availability of placements and the risk level,” Leung told the Post.
Leung said there had been cases where the victim had been placed in the same area as the perpetrator as the risk level of the abuser reoffending was considered low.
There were 892 reported cases of child abuse last year, with 58 per cent of them involving parents, according to official statistics.
Keung Tsai’s tutor, who only gave his last name Law, said the boy’s mother was still his legal guardian and had tried to get in touch by visiting the school.
Legislator Roy Kwong Chun-yu, who brought the case to light, said the boy had decided to come forward after a harrowing video of a man violently hitting his infant daughter went viral last week.
Kwong added that it was strange that the department had made such a housing arrangement and accused the government of failing to provide enough support for victims of domestic violence.
A spokeswoman said: “The department stressed that they did not and would not force the boy to live in a care home that goes against his wishes.”
Earlier on Wednesday the tutor said they had turned to the media as they had “no choice” but to seek help after repeated frustrating encounters with social services.