A new approach in tackling domestic violence has been demanded in light of more migrant women becoming victims of abusive spouses. Harmony House, one of three shelters in Hong Kong, said migrants comprised 64 per cent of residents last year, up dramatically from 28 per cent in 1991. Among the 164 mothers who stayed in the house last year with 233 children, more than 105 were migrants from the mainland, compared with 40 SAR women, several Malaysians, Indonesians and one Macanese woman. The shelter's executive director, Cheung Pui-lai, said domestic violence should be taken more seriously instead of relying on family life education programmes. She said the Government was not fully aware of the extent of domestic violence against migrant women. 'It is not just a case of marital disputes, but of a criminal offence. 'The victims need specific advice on the matter,' said Ms Cheung, a representative of the Government's working group on battered spouses. 'More resources should be allocated to reach out for migrant women at risk as they are likely to stay at home all day.' Chung Yuen-yi, a spokesman for the Hong Kong Association for the Survivors of Women's Abuse set up by former residents of Harmony House, said the abuse often occurred in low-income families living in crowded conditions. 'Many migrants are unfamiliar with Hong Kong's environment and stranded at home,' Ms Chung said. 'Some husbands are jealous of their young wives after they arrive from China. They isolate them from social life and the women have no one to turn to for help when things go wrong.' The Social Welfare Department's Wai On Home for Women housed 120 abused women of many nationalities last year. A new shelter, the Christian Family Service's year-old Serene Court, had helped 102.