A huge rise in reports of child sex abuse has been recorded in recent years, with most abusers relations or family friends. The Child Protection Registry reported a 21-fold increase in child sexual abuse cases from 11 in 1990 to last year's 229. The proportion of child abuse cases involving sexual abuse rose from 2.6 per cent to 28.7 per cent over the same period. Social workers suggested the rise was due to a decline in family unity, a more open attitude to sex and more willingness to report cases of abuse. The director of Against Child Abuse, Priscilla Lui Tsang Sun-kai, said immigrant families appeared to be more vulnerable. 'Some fathers who asked for help expressed difficulty in regarding their newly arrived daughters as their children instead of young girls,' she said. 'More divorces and single-parent families have increased the chance of the children being neglected.' She said more resources should be put into effective legislation and counselling services. The police Child Abuse Investigation Unit reported that 336 children were victims in 288 sexual abuse cases in the past two years. More than 85 per cent of the victims were girls, of whom about 40 per cent were aged between 12 and 17. More than half the boy victims were aged between six and 12. It was found that the majority of abuses were committed by family members with the other main abusers identified as the victims' teachers, doctors, neighbours and mothers' boyfriends. Eighty of the problem families comprised members who arrived from the mainland less than three years ago. A training course to help people working with children and parents recognise signs of sexual abuse was launched yesterday by Against Child Abuse and the Caritas Family Service. It will also promote sex education for children as young as four and teach them how to protect themselves.