We need to ban the beatings of children, says rights group

By staff writer

A rights group has said physical punishment should be banned as hotline calls hit a record high

By staff writer |

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A children's rights group has called for a total ban on corporal punishment, or physical punishment. They also called for more to be done to prevent child abuse early on.

The news come as the group reported a record high number of calls to their hotline last year.

Against Child Abuse released its 2014/15 annual report last Thursday. It recorded 1,490 calls to its hotline, up from 1,445 in the previous year.

Among them, 339 calls (23 per cent) were to report suspected abuse cases. These included 168 cases (50 per cent) of physical abuse, 51 cases (15 per cent) of neglect, 30 cases of multiple abuse (9 per cent) and 27 cases of psychological or emotional abuse (8 per cent).

The group noted abusers were usually people the children knew, with two in three (268 cases) being their parents.

Group director Dr Jessica Ho Oi-chiu said it is worrying that 12 per cent involved children aged two or below, who are too young to defend themselves.

Ho said there is a need to review laws to completely ban physical punishment, even at homes. "There's a law to protect slapping of adults, but there is no law to protect children in their home," Ho said.

But Ho reported there were also more parents asking for help as the hotline received 762 inquiries about child management. Nearly one in five of these 1,490 calls concerned children aged between 12 and 14. Ho pointed out that children in this age group go through drastic changes so they are more likely to fight with their parents.

She stressed the need to provide more resources to early prevention services for parents so they are better able to handle their needs. This reduces the pressure which may lead to problems later.