One in seven Hong Kong women has experienced sexual abuse but only four in 10 seek help, experts say.
The number is even lower among women of South Asian heritage.
Linda Wong, executive director of the Association Concerning Sexual Violence Against Women, cited these figures during a Legislative Council sub-committee hearing on support services for ethnic minorities facing domestic violence.
Wong said that in the past three years, less than a third of women ethnic minorities in 18 cases who sought help from RainLily, a local support group, made a police report.
The low reporting rate might have a direct correlation with the low status of women in their respective cultures, she said.
Paryani Puja Kapai, an associate law professor in the University of Hong Kong, said victims’ decision to seek help is influenced by cultural, religious and socio-economic factors, as well as immigration status.
Kapai urged substantive equal access to protections and remedies against domestic violence for all victims.
Other experts called for additional language support, quality interpretation services and increased sensitivity from frontline service providers and government officials.
Fung Man-chung, assistant director for family and child welfare of the Social Welfare Department, said training has been provided to new social workers to better equip them to handle abuse cases involving ethnic minorities.
Stephen Siu, undersecretary for labor and welfare, said the bureau will review guidelines and interpretation services for ethnic minorities.
(Cantonese with English subtitles)
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