本港人口日漸老化, 與此同時, 社會未來楝樑 –110萬18歲以下的兒童則却未受關注。過去3年, 疏忽照顧和心理虐待兒童的個案有約50%增長。我有位好友是小學生補習老師，他認為本港學生功課太多; 考試壓力大, 政府應盡快成立兒童事務委員會, 為兒童制訂一套長遠的未來發展計劃, 使兒童能接受有質素的教育, 以及得到應有的存活權,發展權,受保護權及參與權。
為進一步瞭解兒童目前面對的問題,我特別走訪防止虐待兒童會署理總幹事黃翠玲女士及服務經理李如寶女士, 讓她們向我解釋本港應怎樣令兒童走出困境,以便能獲得持續的健康發展。她們首先向我申述該會巳向政府建議成立兒童事務委員會達十多年之久。事實上, 立法會於2007及2013年曾兩次通過成立兒童事務委員會, 証明此項提議已獲得社會共識, 但政府仍未採取行動。香港近10年的虐兒情況有上升趨勢, 成立兒童中央資料庫亦是有此所需。
她們指出, 兒童事務委員會的成立是履行1994年適用於本港的聯合國（兒童權利公約）所確立的條文, 促使兒童權利的原則和精神得到落實。現時全球已有70多個國家設立200多個關注及處理兒童事務的委員會。澳門亦於去年11月將婦女事務委員會改組成婦女及兒童事務委員會，比本港更快採取行動, 故港府實在不能再作拖延! 本港立法會議員月前在立法會大樓舉行 “與你童行” 爭取兒童權益會議, 他們均認同政府應從速成立兒童事務委員會, 以兒童最大利益為本,去保障兒童權利及福祉, 並期待新一屆政府可以達成兒童的願望,例如本港兒童近年出現近視, 肥胖,住宿照顧宿位, 以及未能貫徹為有需要兒童所制定的福利計劃等問題, 希望當局能增加兒童服務相關撥款及採取跨部門合作模式,令兒童服務更為全面及到位。
近年社會出現多宗倫常慘劇,今年4月將軍澳有位母親因婚變而攬女自殺, 根據<婚外情問題支援服務>獲得的數據顯示, 本港近半(49%)家庭的子女因父母婚外情對其情緒健康造成深遠影響, 變得惶恐不安, 渴望父母和解但又無力幫助, 結果分別影響其身心與學業。
兩位資深社工向我強調, 於1979年成立的防止虐待兒童會所扮演的角色就是保護兒童, 作出輔導及治療, 預防虐兒及予以倡導, 服務對象除18歲以下兒童外, 亦有家長及準家長 ; 在照顧子女方面有需要協助的家庭; 以及任何關心兒童福利的人士。該會有朝九晚九的電話熱線–27551122讓各位舉報懷疑虐兒個案或諮詢有關兒童管教的問題, 舉報者的個人資料絕對保密。在收到舉報後, 社工會進行外展調查, 提供適切的跟進服務, 又或輔導及治療服務,促進家庭關係及幫助個人成長。
她們表示, 該會的小組工作範圍甚廣, 由治療, 教育, 發展, 康樂, 倡議以至互助網絡亦包括在內。此外, 它們於2013年成立保護兒童學院, 為公眾及家長舉辦教育活動, 幫助家長掌握正面管教兒童的知識, 為專業人士, 社工學生及義工提供訓練活動 包括證書課程, 工作坊, 研討會及講座等, 並促進與海外機構建立伙伴關係, 與國內外專業團隊交流, 同時透過傳媒宣傳及倡導保護兒童和兒童權利訊息。
本人上述只屬部分內容, 如想瞭解更多有關防止虐待兒童會的狀況, 可到其網頁:www.aca.org.hk
How to Ensure Healthy Growth of a Child?
Establishing a Children’s Commission without Delay
Hong Kong population is aging gradually while the pillars of our future society, i.e. 1.1 million children aged below 18 are not concerned. Cases of child neglect and psychological abuse has soared 50% in the past three years. One of my friends is a tutor for primary students, he reckons that there is too much homework for Hong Kong student; pressure in exams is high, thus the government should establish a Children’s Commission as soon as possible to formulate a long-term future development plan for children, in order to let children receive quality education and being entitled to the right to survival, development, protection and participation.
For better understanding of current problems that children are facing, I planned a visit to interview Ms. WONG Chui Ling, the acting Director and Ms. LEE Yu Po, the Service Manager of the Against Child Abuse (ACA), letting them to elaborate on how we should get children away from the plight in Hong Kong, so as to gain continuous development in healthy growth. They told me at first that their agency has already recommended the government to establish a children’s commission for over ten years. In fact, the Legislative Council passed the motion of establishment of the Children’s Commission twice respectively in 2007 and 2013, proving that this recommendation has already gained social consensus, but the government still has not taken any action yet. There is an uprising trend in child abuse in last ten years, setting up a centralized children database is also in need.
They pointed out that the establishment is fulfilling the ordinance set by the United Nations (Convention on the Rights of the Child) in 1994 which is applicable to Hong Kong, enhancing the enforcement of the principle and spirit of children’s rights. Now there are 70 plus countries around the globe which have set up more than 200 commissions concerning and handling children’s matters. Macau also restructured the Women Affairs Committee to Women and Children Affairs Committee in last November, taking action faster than Hong Kong, so Hong Kong government should indeed delay no more! Hong Kong Legislative Councilors organized a meeting striving for children’s rights called “Walk with Children” earlier this month in the LegCo building, they all think that the government should immediately establish a children’s commission to protect children’s rights and welfare based on children’s best interests, meanwhile hoping the new government would fulfill children’s dreams, for example, Hong Kong children become short-sighted, obese these years, lodging-care dormitory vacancies, and issues regarding being unable to consistently formulate welfare plans that are in need for children, hope the authority could increase responding subsidies in child care services and adopt a model of cross-department cooperation, so that children services are more holistic and fulfilled.
Do Family Issues become Severe in Hong Kong day by day?
Many cases of family tragedy has happened these years, a mother committed suicide holding her daughter due to separation in Tseung Kwan O in April this year. According to the data of Extramarital Affairs Counselling Service indicates, there are deep and long-lasting effects on nearly half (49%) of children’s emotional health triggered by their parents’ extramarital affairs, these children would become fearful and panicking, feeling helpless with the hope that their parents can reconcile, consequently affect both their physical and psychological health, plus academia.
Two senior social workers emphasized to me that the ACA established in 1979 is playing the role of protecting children, offering counselling and treatment, preventing child abuse and advocacy. Serving targets are not confined to children aged under 18, but also parents and parents-to-be; families who need assistance in looking after their children and also any people who concern children’s welfare. There is a 9am-to-9pm hotline (2755-1122) for everyone to report any suspicious child abuse case or inquire issues related to parenting children. The personal information of the reported party is handled with strictest confidence. Upon receipt of the report, social workers would conduct out-reach investigation, providing appropriate level of follow up, or counselling and treatment, enhancing good family relationship and facilitating personal growth.
They indicated that the small group work of the agency widely covers from treatment, education, development, recreation, advocation to mutual support network. Apart from that, they also set up a Child Protection Institute in 2013, organizing educational activities for the public and parents, helping parents acquiring positive parenting knowledge, providing training including certificate course, workshops, seminars and talks, etc. to professionals, students of social work and volunteers; facilitating partnerships with overseas institutions, exchange interaction with professional groups inside or outside Mainland, meanwhile spreading messages of child protection and children’s rights via media promotion.
Content above only contains partial information, please refer to ACA’s website www.aca.org.hk for further information if you want to know more about Against Child Abuse (ACA).
Translated by Voluntary Translator Aileen Ip
The English translation is for reference only, original Chinese content shall prevail in case of any ambiguity.
機構簡介, organization’s profile: https://socialcareer.org/#!/ngo/about/aca
義工機會, organization’s volunteer jobs: https://socialcareer.org/#!/ngo/volunteering/aca/600518
更多義工機會, more volunteer opportunities: www.socialcareer.org