Date
11 December 2017
Donna Wong (left), acting director of rights group 'Against Child Abuse', says authorities should step up efforts to prevent child sexual abuse. Photo: RTHK
Donna Wong (left), acting director of rights group 'Against Child Abuse', says authorities should step up efforts to prevent child sexual abuse. Photo: RTHK

Rights group raises alarm over child sexual abuse

Sexual abuse cases involving child victims have been on the rise in Hong Kong, with many incidents going unreported, according to a children’s rights group.

According to the group “Against Child Abuse”, it recorded 36 suspected cases of child sex abuse in the past year, an increase of 20 percent compared to the preceding twelve months.

The actual figure could be even higher as it believes several cases are going unreported because of people’s reluctance to talk about the subject, RTHK cited the group as saying. 

“Talking about sex abuse is still a taboo in Chinese societies,” said Donna Wong, acting director of the child rights organization.

The organization said it received 1,121 requests for help and 198 of them were linked to abuse.

A total of 225 children were involved, of which 61 were victims aged between 6 to 8 years, 59 in the 3-5 age group, and 22 aged 2 or under, news website hk01.com reports.

Among the 36 suspected cases of sexual abuse, two of them are being followed up by the Social Welfare Department.

“The number of sexual abuse cases is increasing from year to year, even according to the statistics of the Social Welfare Department,” said Wong.

She told RTHK that there should be a mandatory sex conviction record check system and a compulsory treatment program for sex offenders.

The children’s rights group suggested that parents should teach their young children to say no to any action or situation that makes them feel uncomfortable.

The government, meanwhile, should devote resources to early prevention initiatives.

Activities could include visiting families with newborn and infants, and providing support to poor or single-parent families.

In other comments, the group said corporal punishment should be completely banned.

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BN/RC

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