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).
Volunteer Reporter: Mr Hung
Translated by Voluntary Translator Aileen Ip
The English translation is for reference only, original Chinese content shall prevail in case of any ambiguity.
Organization’s profile: https://socialcareer.org/#!/ngo/about/aca
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