Hong Kong NGO partners international body to fight domestic violence
HER Fund and Paris-based Kering Foundation will offer help to victims of such violence, including those from lesbian, new immigrant communities
A local women’s rights group has teamed up with an international foundation in a three-year programme to reach out to victims of domestic violence in the city.
That includes new arrivals from the mainland, the lesbian community and young students who suffered from what was called “dating violence”, said Linda To Kit-lai, founding member and executive director of HER Fund, a Hong Kong-based non-governmental organisation.
“Civic education [on domestic violence] in Hong Kong is very limited and many cases are ... hidden from public,” To told the Post.
HER Fund has recently forged a three-year partnership with the Paris-based Kering Foundation to combat domestic violence in Hong Kong. The latter will give a grant of HK$1 million to To’s team which would in turn subsidise three projects run by other women’s rights organisations to help the marginalised communities.
New women immigrants who were abused by their Hong Kong husbands tended not to report the cases, To said, as they feared it might affect their bids to apply for residency in the city. Lesbians were also often reluctant to share their ordeal with others, while some even faced discrimination as they sought help, she added.
But To said that even with their expanded effort, it is still impossible for them to fill in all the gaps left by the government.
The lack of a comprehensive law to combat domestic violence is partly to blame, she said.
“The Domestic and Cohabitation Relationships Violence Ordinance … has only allowed [the victims] to [get] an injunction from court,” said To. “There is no way to protect the victims from psychological abuse.”
She cited a case of a man forcing his wife and children to watch an obscene video with him during dinner time.
Meanwhile, Céline Bonnaire, executive director of Kering Foundation, said there is no cultural pattern for domestic violence.
“Domestic violence really could [happen] on a doctor’s wife [or] a worker’s wife,” she said. “You find it everywhere and it has nothing to do with culture.”
Apart from offering the grant, Bonnaire said Kering Foundation would also organise workshops and training for its local partners.
“Our approach is not only to give funds, but also to provide the skills if needed,” she added.