Zero tolerance of physical abuse key advice to officers A guide has been issued to social workers in a bid to improve their handling of domestic violence in light of the number of high-profile cases this year. The 52-page guide includes a risk-assessment form that allows social workers to evaluate potential dangers when working to solve domestic disputes. It includes a series of indicators to help detect aggressive tendencies, such as whether those involved had threatened to commit suicide and whether they had been violent towards their pets. The guide was issued by the Hong Kong Social Workers Association, which represents more than 1,400 members. It was drafted after a mother and her two daughters were murdered in April during a domestic dispute in Tin Shui Wai. Association president Chua Hoi-wai said the government would release an investigation report on the three killings on Monday. He said the publication differed from previous sets of guidelines because it addressed domestic violence in a specific and comprehensive manner, while arming social workers with the skills required to handle disputes. 'Family violence is becoming a very complicated issue, so social workers nowadays need special skills to identify the problems and help the families before it becomes too late,' he said. Association director Justina Leung Ngai Mou-yin said the guide reminded social workers that they should uphold the principle of 'zero tolerance to violence'. Some social workers had expressed concerns that their intervention could worsen their clients' domestic affairs, she added. The guide has been sent to more than 100 social organisations and government departments, including the social welfare and housing departments, as well as police. Director of Social Welfare Paul Tang Kwok-wai said yesterday his department would provide financial support and counselling to those involved in a violent domestic dispute on Thursday in Sau Mau Ping. The case involves a nine-year-old boy who was injured while trying to shield his mother from his chopper-wielding father. The mother's condition improved slightly last night from critical to serious. Against Child Abuse reported that it dealt with 101 cases last year, a slight increase from 98 in 2002.