Date
23 July 2017
More than half the children aged between 6 and 13 in Hong Kong are said to suffer some form of physical punishment at the hands of their parents. Photo: HKEJ
More than half the children aged between 6 and 13 in Hong Kong are said to suffer some form of physical punishment at the hands of their parents. Photo: HKEJ

Corporal punishment by parents rampant: child welfare group

More than 50 percent of students in Hong Kong aged between six and 13 have indicated that they suffered corporal punishment over the past twelve months, according to a survey.

The punishment, at the hands of parents, mostly came about due to unhappiness over academic performance and lifestyle issues, the survey by rights group Against Child Abuse (ACA) showed.

The ACA study, which was based on interviews with 1,562 students, also revealed that nearly half of the respondents had suffered mental abuse, Ming Pao Daily News reported Tuesday.

The child rights group called on the government to set up a committee to protect the welfare of children and to pass legislation for a strict ban on physical punishment.

According Jessica Ho, director of ACA, the government has failed to set up laws to ban physical punishment in domestic settings, although it passed a law in 1991 to disallow physical punishment in schools.

Although there are child abuse laws, they do not necessarily protect a child from being physically punished by parents, Ho said.

The survey, which was conducted between November 2014 and February this year, showed that 54 percent of children received physical punishment in the past year, while 70 percent received such treatment occasionally.

Ten percent of the respondents said they received physical punishments on a weekly basis, while 5 percent said they were punished daily.

Fifty-one percent of the children who had been physically abused said poor grades or failing to submit home-work on time were the reasons for their punishments, while 47 percent said it was due to their lifestyle habits such as playing TV games too much or excessive spending of pocket money.

Most of the physical punishments come in the form of spanking by hand or with some objects, while some children said they were ordered to stand or do exercises such as push-ups. Three percent of the children interviewed said they have had experience of being locked up as a punishment.

Twenty-two percent of the children said they were victims of mental abuse, with the parents threatening to throw away their favorite toys or other play things. Twelve percent had been subject to boycotts or verbal abuse.

ACA also interviewed 253 parents who came from mainland China but are yet to complete seven years of stay in Hong Kong. It was found that those people could be more prone to physical punishments on their children due to emotional stress.

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