MOTHERS escaping domestic violence are forced to live with discrimination and harassment because there are no guidelines in granting compassionate rehousing, social workers say. Harmony House, a voluntary body which helps battered wives, said the Social Welfare Department had been inconsistent in accepting victims' requests for compassionate rehousing. Women face great difficulties in finding accommodation, because landlords fear they will be unable to pay rent and their children will annoy other tenants. Some mothers had been bullied and sexually harassed in multi-household apartments because of their single status, said Harmony House spokesman Irene Ng Wai-ching. 'Whether the application is successful or not depends on the welfare officers' judgment,' Ms Ng said. 'There should be a guideline for the officers - who may not recognise single mothers' problems - to follow,' she said. Fujianese migrant Mak Kwok-mui, 40, who left her home in Sha Tin in June said a welfare officer had urged her to return to her husband. 'They said I could report him to the police if he attacked me again,' said Ms Mak, who lives in a 40 square feet rooftop structure with two children aged nine and 10. Ms Mak's applications for rehousing were rejected twice before social workers worked on her final, successful bid. Her rooftop flat was an illegal structure and the landlord had put off fixing the ceiling which allowed water to drip on to the bed. Another mother, Choi Ngar-sung, 30, also a Fujianese migrant, lives with her three-year-old daughter in a small room with only a mattress and a table. Ms Choi said the welfare officer considered she was not facing 'urgent need'. 'My daughter is not allowed to go outside the room any time, even if she wants to follow me to the kitchen,' said Ms Choi. 'The landlord scolds her whenever she touches the furniture. Now she is scared of everyone except me,' she said. A social welfare spokesman said the department recommended compassionate rehousing for those facing social and family problems. 'We have a general guideline but the cases have to be assessed because anyone can come to us and say they have problems,' he said.